2020 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings 7-Round Mock Draft

In this updated 7-round Minnesota Vikings NFL mock draft, we take a look at what the team will need to do to help stop some of the bleeding and replace a number of players that have departed this offseason.

[Editor’s Note: Version 1.0 below was originally published on February 24]

The Minnesota Vikings are heading into the 2020 NFL Draft with a few more needs than they were expecting to have. Over the past few weeks alone, the team has somehow found themselves facing a future without two star players. A disgruntled Stefon Diggs has sparked trade rumors by removing all images of the Vikings from social media, and veteran defensive end Everson Griffen has reportedly decided to void the remainder of his deal with Minnesota. There is still a chance that both of these players are still with the team in 2020, but it is also likely that the Vikings will face a future without them. Using this 7-round Vikings mock draft, the team tries to balance a fine line while starting to try and rebuild while also making another run at the playoffs.

Team needs

Like I said above, the Vikings have a number of needs they weren’t expecting to have. If they lose Griffen, pass rush will likely be their key focus. Defensively they will be looking to improve the cornerback position. With Xavier Rhodes taking a huge step back, the position is suddenly of huge concern. Rhodes went from being a lockdown cornerback to barely being able to cover rookie receivers. Both Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes have played better than Rhodes, but both are entering free agency in 2020. Thanks to some massive contracts, the team is tight with cap space and will probably not be able to bring back both CBs.

Outside of CB, the team will also need to look at the safety position. Anthony Harris, Jayron Kearse, and Andrew Sendejo are all free agents after the season, making Harrison Smith the only safety guaranteed to return in 2020. The team will need to focus on depth here, and with 2020 safety class being so deep, they will be able to target someone in the middle to later rounds.

Offensively, the team will look to bring in another wide receiver to potentially go alongside Adam Thielen if Diggs does in fact depart. Even if this was all a simple smokescreen with Diggs, the team suffered from injuries all last season and they struggled with depth issues. Chad Beebe went out early in the season and then Thielen spent a number of games in the injury report.

As important as a WR is on a football team, the most important position is the quarterback. What the Vikings end up doing with Kirk Cousins is the $100 million question. Cousins is a real dilemma, he had moments in his time with Minnesota where he absolutely shined and looked like he was worth his $84 million guaranteed contracts, and he had other moments where he struggled immensely. If a QB that the team likes falls in the draft, I could see them bringing in someone to replace Cousins after next season. If not, the team will likely extend him for another few years.

Minnesota Vikings 7-round NFL mock draft

Round 1, Pick 25: Jeff Gladney, CB TCU

The Vikings will be targeting a cornerback early in this draft and will find a gem near the end of the first round. TCU’s Jeff Gladney is an athletic corner who will bring some much-needed youth and cost savings to this Minnesota secondary. His numbers speak for themselves as he tallied a grand total of 146 tackles, 38 passes defended, and five interceptions in his four-year college career. Gladney was also named to the First team all-Big 12 for his efforts in his 2019 Senior season.

As a three-star recruit out of high school, Gladney was not expected to be a first-round talent. His performance on the field skyrocketed his draft capital. He’s fantastic in man coverage but also had success in zone as well. He isn’t the size that head coach Mike Zimmer usually likes to go after, but he plays like he is much bigger. At only six feet tall and 185 pounds, his dedication and physicality will be what help him convince the Vikings to make him their first-round selection. His physicality and ability to utilize every bit of the first five yards of contact to disrupt the receiver in their routes make him a special talent. He will make a fine addition to this Vikings secondary.

Other considerations: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, WR Laviska Shenault Jr., OT Austin Jackson

Round 2, Pick 58: Raekwon Davis, DL Alabama

The Vikings have an excellent defensive line with players like run-stuffing duo in Shamar Stephen and Linval Joseph. However, Joseph will be 32 next season and could be a cut consideration at his current salary. Plus, the departure of Griffen could be a massive loss for this team and they will need to find a way to stop the bleeding. Enter versatile Alabama DE/DT Raekwon Davis.

Davis is a dominant presence both on the interior and edge of the defensive line. He had 11.5 sacks during his college career and was the standout star of Alabama’s 2017 national championship run. He possesses a rare combination of strength, size, and speed that could end up being a nightmare for opposing offensive lineman. Adding him to this defensive line would be a huge addition to a defense that really came into form near the end of the 2019 season.

Other considerations: DL Neville Gallimore, OT Isaiah Wilson, CB Bryce Hall

Round 3, Pick 89: Terrell Burgess, S Utah

The Utah Utes shocked the college football world last season and were one game away from a College Football Playoff invitation. Their success was in large part thanks to the performance of their defense. One of the pieces of said defense was safety Terrell Burgess.

After appearing in just 15 total games in the first three seasons at the University of Utah, Burgess started in all 14 games of his fourth and final season in Salt Lake City. Burgess racked up an impressive total of solo stops for the safety position with 50 in 2019, 7.5 of his tackles came behind the line of scrimmage. He also had his first interception.

With the safety position being such an issue for the team, Burgess will help solidify this defense. Kearse has already made it pretty clear that he isn’t coming back to the Vikings next season. While Sendejo is 34 years old and will likely not be returning either.

Burgess plays fast downhill and reacts quickly to what is happening in front of him. His strengths strongly outweigh any weakness that he has. At this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl, PFN Draft Analyst AJ Schulte names Burgess as one of his risers after a strong showing.

“Burgess flashed on days one and two in Mobile and finally put it all together for a good showing on day three, resulting in an interception of a Shea Patterson pass today. I was a fan of his tape coming into Senior Bowl week and he finally showed off his skill set.”

Other considerations: LB Malik Harrison, CB Amik Robertson

Round 3: Pick 106: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR Liberty

The fact that Liberty WR Antonio Gandy-Golden was still available for the Vikings in the third round is absolutely exceptional. There isn’t a WR in the 2020 NFL Draft that fits better with what the Vikings are looking for. Gandy-Golden is a tall, thick pass-catcher who has posted impressive numbers in the last two seasons. At 6’4, 220 pounds, his physical stature is imposing when lining up against defenses.

In his last two seasons, Gandy-Golden has combined for 150 catches, 2,433 yards, and 20 touchdowns. In his most recent article, PFN Senior Draft Analyst Brad Kelly put together the attributes he believes creates the perfect WR prospect. Gandy-Golden made the list thanks to his stalk blocking.

“Gandy-Golden’s physical profile leads to impressive potential as a blocker, and his effort results in positive production in that area. His strength along the boundary against smaller defensive backs allows him to create space for ball carriers.”

With Minnesota’s impressive run game behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, bringing in a WR who can also help block and create space will add another dimension to this offense. With Gandy-Golden being available in the fourth round in this 7-round Vikings NFL mock draft it was an easy choice, but I could see Minnesota grabbing him even higher in the second or third round if necessary.

Other considerations: QB Steven Montez, S Jalen Elliott, EDGE Jonathan Garvin

Ryan Gosling is the Chief Written Content Officer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter @ryangoslingPFN.