Kiper: Receivers swirling around Vikings pick

Mel Kiper Jr. had a different receiver going to the Vikings in his first two mock drafts. Still, he had high praise for the top receivers in this draft class.

There are multiple directions the Minnesota Vikings can go with their first-round pick at No. 11. Although the team showed improvement during the 2014 season, there are still plenty of holes they need to fix. When looking at mock drafts, there are usually three players that consistently come up. They are Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker, Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes and Alabama safety Landon Collins.

Although ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes all three of these players are very talented, at this moment in time, he does not believe the Vikings will draft one of them.

“I think DeVantes Parker could be (a top-10 pick), but I project him probably around 12,” Kiper said in a conference call on Tuesday. “Trae Waynes could be (a top-10 pick), but I project him to Miami. I’d say (Landon Collins), more 15-25 in that area for him. I think you could maybe see all three of those guys go just out of the top 10.”

Kiper has Collins falling farther than the other two players, but says that his stock could easily rise on draft day. It’s because he is the best safety in a very weak class, and he is an Alabama player.

“I pushed Collins down a little bit, but he’s the top safety and might get a little bit more of a bump,” Kiper said. “He’s an Alabama player that automatically gives you a bump.”

It seems to be difficult for experts to predict where Parker will end up. Some mock drafts have him going in the top 10. But other drafts have him falling to Kansas City at No. 18. Kiper even mentioned the possibility that teams might even trade up to draft Parker if West Virginia’s Kevin White and Alabama’s Amari Cooper come off the board early.

“But Parker’s interesting because if the receivers come off the board early, and you know one will go to Oakland probably at four,” Kiper said. “I talked about teams trading up for Cooper, maybe they feel like they have to deal up for Parker.”

In his first mock draft, Kiper had the Vikings taking Parker, but it was changed in his second one. He still had the Vikings drafting receiver, but instead of Parker it was White. Even though he changed the pick, Kiper seems to be OK with the Vikings drafting either player.

He compared the top three receivers in this draft class – Cooper, White and Parker – to the three best receivers taken in the 1985 and 1988 drafts. In 1985, the top three receivers taken were Al Toon, Eddie Brown and Jerry Rice. And the top three receivers taken in the 1988 draft were Tim Brown, Sterling Sharpe and Michael Irvin.

“(Cooper, Parker and White) are the big three,” Kiper said. “This is really reminiscent of the draft we saw the past years. You go back ’85 and ’88 when those wide receivers went. We had those three great ones in ’85, and three great ones in ’88. And they all turned out to be really good pros. Outstanding pros, Hall of Famers some of them. So I think this group could rival those groups from ’85 and ’88.”

Of course it is still too early to say any of these three players will be Hall of Famers, but Kiper has high praise for each of them. And if the Vikings feel the need to take a receiver at No. 11 any one of these three would be a good pick.

On the other hand, if they want to trade down and obtain more picks, there should be plenty of teams interested in this kind of talent … if they aren’t drafted before the Vikings are on the clock.


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