Written by Rance Gardner
We are officially 1 week from the 2020 NFL draft and rumors are flying like crazy. Ahhhhhh you smell that? That's the smell of smokescreens. Teams are beginning to leak information both true and false as they are posturing for the draft. Yesterday rumors began to swirl that the Vikings were discussing a trade with Cleveland involving Odell Beckham Jr. I for one don't believe that rumor to be true at all mainly because the Vikings aren't that lucky. The Vikings have a massive hole a receiver after Adam Thielen, and replacing Stefon Diggs with OBJ would be an upgrade. However, the likelihood of this happening is almost zero. So where does that leave the Vikings heading into next Thursday?
Based on the OBJ rumors will they go receiver in the 1st round, or will they look to improve in the trenches? If there is even a sliver of truth to the Beckham to Minnesota buzz that means the Vikings are very serious about upgrading their WR group. Adam Thielen will be 30 this year and his decline is inevitable after the next couple seasons. Many fans will say I'm stupid for pounding the table for a WR but in this day and age you better have an air attack. I know Zimmer's philosophy is run run run but Kubiak has only run the ball more than passed once during his time as a coach. The WR depth is insane in this draft and the Vikings will likely take advantage of it. Receiver isn't the only position of need. Vikings need another cornerback starter and probably another one for depth. There are some very good corners in this class and it wouldn't shock me if the Vikings drafted 2 receivers and 2 corners in the first 4-5 rounds of the draft. Minnesota also still desperately needs to shore up the interior of their offensive line. Pat Elflein has looked bad the last 2 seasons and they released starter Josh Kline earlier this spring. The bottom line is the Vikings need guards badly. I would say in no particular order that receiver, corner and interior line are the Vikings biggest needs going into Thursday's draft.
So with the Vikings many needs, they are going to have to use their 12 picks wisely. They have ammo to move up and down at will to get the players they feel strongly about. This draft will shape the Vikings next 3 seasons and beyond. I won't break down every pick but I will outline who I think the Vikings should target in the first 2 rounds. In round 1 I think Minnesota needs to target a top receiver like Henry Ruggs or Justin Jefferson. If either of them is available at 22 I would expect the Vikings to pull the trigger. With the 25th pick, I expect Minnesota to target a corner. Kristian Fulton and Jeff Gladney are players that could step in and make an impact immediately in the Vikings secondary. In round 2 I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings target the best O lineman available or someone like Antoine Winfield jr. Winfield would be an instant fan favorite and he is an incredible player. Even if the Vikings don't trade safety Anthony Harris, I could see them taking Winfield and using him in nickel situations. There will be a ton of fluidity as the draft carries on and Minnesota with all of their picks could move up and strike at any moment to land a player they think will help immediately. The Vikings have several holes and they will need this draft class to help make an impact immediately. The current situation with the virus and the lockdown is going to make it difficult for rookies to acclimated as quickly as in the past so I expect teams to prioritize smarts and mental focus this draft. Most years the fastest guys go first, but I could see the smartest guys going first this year. I have a feeling this will be the most exciting draft in years. Get your popcorn ready Vikings fans.