The first and most widespread assumption is that the Vikings are going to take a wide receiver – the name most often dropped is Louisville’s DeVante Parker. The feeling is that the Vikings have already given up on the future prospects for 2013 first-rounder Cordarrelle Patterson despite the time-honored tradition of wide receivers not reaching their full potential until their third year. There may be some credence to the rumor, but by no means is it a guarantee that the Vikings will be looking to reunite Teddy Bridgewater with his college running mate.
There is also a school of thought that the Vikings are going to draft an offensive tackle with the 11th pick of the draft. That assumption is based on the belief that the Vikings are going allow Matt Kalil to walk after his rookie contract expires following the 2015 season. Kalil admitted at the end of the season that he was playing with an injured knee that had been bothering him the entire season and he never fully recovered after being laid up the previous offseason. He has vowed to come back strong this season and reclaim his job as the presumptive starter at left tackle moving forward.
While not a first-round consideration – at least not where they’re currently picking – there is a sentiment that the Vikings will use an early pick on a running back if they can’t reach an agreement with Adrian Peterson to reduce his massive salary cap number. The names Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley have been thrown out as far less expensive replacement options, but those assumptions are based solely on the Vikings either trading or releasing Peterson which, if you hear just about anyone from the Minnesota front office speak, isn’t currently in the plans.
There is also talk that the Vikings may look at linebacker as a possibility if another player they like in the early portion of the draft tickles their fancy the way Anthony Barr did last spring. With Chad Greenway likely not coming back at the salary he is scheduled to make ($7 million) and Jasper Brinkley a free agent, there is a spot for a linebacker in the first round, whether the Vikings stay at No. 11 or trade down a few spots.
With the NFL Scouting Combine less than a week away, there is going to be a lot of talk about rumors and lining up players with team needs. The noise is a mere rumble at this point, like the rolling of thunder far off in the distance that signals a storm is coming. Two months from now, that storm is going to be winding up and bringing with it the answers that we currently don’t have. The rumors will persist, but, until the Vikings take concrete steps in one direction or another, that’s all they are – rumors.