With the clock ticking down to the draft – 10 days and change away – it's time to put on the fortune-teller's bandana and make the "subject-to-change" predictions before the rest of the draftniks chime in with their newfound opinions.
The VU track record on this has been pretty good over the years – if we miss on a slot in a mock draft, we often have the position right but the player wrong. We don't hear the voices that influence the decision-makers with each team. That happens behind locked doors. Scouts fall in man-love with certain players. Somebody fell in love with Troy Williamson. Vikings fans can only hope that voice in the war room voice has been silenced.
With that in mind, VU will go on record as picking the first three choices for the Vikings over the first two days of the draft. Some fans may not like that, according to our admittedly foggy crystal ball, cornerback and safety are going to get ignored, but at least you have a dozen days to cushion and come to grips with that particular blow. They're going to have to kiss and make up with Chris Cook and squeeze another year out of Antoine Winfield and pray for rain at safety in outdoor games. Here's our official/unofficial picks for the Vikings draft in the picks that are going to get the most attention.
The Vikings currently have three of the first 66 picks – No. 3 in each round. Here are our relatively fearless projections for those picks.
Round 1: Matt Kalil, OT, USC. Wow! Phone call for Mr. Vegas. I know, it's not the most original prediction. But when you have a guy who projects to be Pro Bowl-quality for a decade, why get cute? Cut the check. Make the pick. Git 'er dun.
Round 2: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU. The last two times the Vikings have stuck their toe in the SEC water to get a premium wide receiver, they stuck gold – South Carolina's Sidney Rice in 2007 and Florida's Percy Harvin in 2009. He is a big-play machine whose highlight reel looks suspiciously similar to Rice's. Other players (and positions) may get consideration, but R2 is the real deal and the Vikings would be advised to listen to us (we didn't endorse Williamson and stand by that conviction).
Round 3: Travis Lewis, MLB, Oklahoma. It's déjà vu all over again. The last two times the Vikings used Norman as a feeder town, they acquired Adrian Peterson and Phil Loadholt. Both have been starters from Day 1. With E.J. Henderson no longer in the equation, the Vikings are looking for a middle linebacker to mold in their own image. Lewis is a player whose ideal fit is in a Tampa-2 scheme that the Vikings employ. Because of his limitations to chase plays to the sideline, the interested teams will be reduced and he should be available on Route 66 (the slot of the Vikings' third-round pick) and the marriage of player and organizational fit are like a glove.
With our predictions set in clay (not stone), karma will likely force another team to make a Mob-style offer the Vikings can't refuse. If they stay where they're at, we feel good about these predictions. If they trade out, we'll see if crystal can withstand the concussion of being thrown with prejudice from a third-story window.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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