Ok, eight days until the 2020 NFL Draft, and here and eight things I'm pondering approaching arguably the most important and significant draft for the Minnesota Vikings since I started calling their games on the radio in 2002. I write that and proclaim it #92Noon on "The Leader" because there are significant holes to fill, they possess six of the first 132 selections including two of the first 25, have a top-flight QB with whom you can win playoff games, and overall the team is quite good and can do some NFC damage if they hit on several key positions/players.
(8) Given what for sure will be a truncated offseason with who knows how many weeks/reps up to the regular season I LOVE the Vikings chances to start fast. Continuity is the name of that game, and that they have their best defensive players under contract, and the offense mostly is stable, yeah, I expect Minnesota to start the season in lickety-split fashion.
(7) Still no word on HC Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Speilman and their contracts heading into the final year. I'd be shocked if this topic has not been broached with ownership, and maybe things slowed when the pandemic hit. I don't know, but I hope they both are here for many years because they are good at their crafts, and I'd be even more flabbergasted if the team entered the regular season with no extension for said duo.
(6) I LOVE Georgia LT Andrew Thomas. As mentioned multiple times #92Noon I only prefer a first-round "trade up" with the currency the Vikings possess if it involves nabbing a LT you can cultivate and use for years to come. Veteran Riley Reiff still is under contract and by all means can be used in 2020 to win games, but there are some offensive-tackle gems in this draft, and Thomas is one of my favorites.
I, too, like Mekhi Becton from Louisville and Jedrick Willis, Jr. from Alabama, but Thomas really, really sticks out to me when I watch Bulldogs offensive highlights. His movements are fluid, he blocks the run and protects the pass very well, has played both tackle positions and was a team captain. If the deal is right this is a player for whom I would trade up.
(5) Experts have said for months this is "the deepest" wide receiver draft they can remember. Does "deepest" mean best? Devotees to #92Noon know I am negative on first-round WR unless it's a generational-type player. And I, too, buy the "deepest" part of the analysis and what those who grind tape are saying. I truly believe you can find WR rounds two on that will help you now and for years to come. There is one for which I might trade up round one --might!-- so please keep reading ....
(4) Those in the know with whom I chat regarding Gophers stud WR Tyler Johnson all say basically the same thing -- might be a tad slow for the NFL game, didn't run at the combine and there was no Gophers pro day due to the COVID-19 situation, and some are concerned with his "top-end speed."
My go-to people know 100 times more about college stuff than me, but go ahead and sleep on this kid and watch him whoop ass for years to come. Sidney Rice was a 4.5 guy at the 2007 combine, and with the right QB had some star power and is one of the best "50-50 ball" wide receivers I have seen wear the purple and gold. Tyler plays every WR spot on the field and will be a handful in the intermediate game. He kind of reminds me of Sidney. If Tyler lasts into Saturday I predict teams will regret passing on him.
(3) My favorite WR in the draft is Alabama's Henry Ruggs. Exits a pro style offense, has massive hands and his run after catch is dazzling. That 4.2 40 at the combine caused a buzz, and if I am WR-needy I select him first in this deep WR group. Per submission five atop the page, Ruggs is the might guy.
(2) Too late to trade S Anthony Harris in my opinion, and, honestly, I never wanted the team to trade him in the first place. That statement is predicated off reports weeks ago the Vikings "franchised" him with the intent of moving him. Might be true, but who cares now. Move Harris and assuming you don't get a quality safety in return and starting next week you need to draft two safeties, and one has to start now. Assuming they keep Anthony you probably draft one who can make the team and maybe help on special teams.
(1) Haven't seen/heard anything positive or negative on Dalvin Cook's future here. He's into the final year of his rookie deal and is getting better by the minute. I can't see the team giving him a McCaffrey- (highest-paid RB in NFL lore) or Elliott-type contract. I like Dalvin every bit as much as 'Zeke, but $28 million in true guarantees and the first two years of base salary guaranteed might not add up. This situation causes me professional anxiety because I want players -- especially running backs -- to get as much as they can as quickly as they can, but pragmatically speaking I just not sure the Vikings can or will go that big. And that's from a guy who adores 33 on and off the field. Tough nut to crack here.