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BALL FIVE: With 30th pick, Vikings have myriad player options

When a team wins a lot of games, they don’t get to draft one of the 10 or 15 players coming out of college who the experts think are ready to step into an NFL lineup.
Whether that’s true or not, you won’t hear much about the Vikings until it is their turn to make the 30th pick in the first round of the NFL draft next Thursday.
You also find that those experts, the guys who get paid to create mock drafts every week for a month leading up to the draft, have an opinion as wide as the Missouri after a wet spring about who they think the Vikings will take with that 30th pick.
In fact, they have it narrowed down to one of about 20 players.
Most draft prognosticators agree the Vikings need to shore up their offensive line. They got better last year with the addition of Mike Remmers and Parkston native Riley Reiff to play the tackle positions and the drafting of Pat Elfein to play center. But injuries still hurt the team. Depth was a problem. Plus guard Joe Berger retired, Remmers moved inside to guard and a couple guys were released.
So, if you agree with the mock drafters that the Vikings will take an offensive lineman in the first round, you can narrow their pick down to a mere eight different players. In various mock drafts I found the names of tackles Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame, Connor Williams of Texas, Kolton Miller of UCA, Geron Christian of Louisville and Orlando Brown of Oklahoma. If the Vikings pick a tackle, it might be one of these guys. But they could guard and take a guy like Isaiah Wynn of Georgia or Will Hernandez of UTEP. Unless they go with a center/guard combo guy like Billy Price of Ohio State or James Daniels of Iowa.
While the Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and it is a primarily young group, the team could use some more quality players, especially at cornerback and on the line. You already know that coach Mike Zimmer loves his cornerbacks. If the Vikings go that way, the three I’ve seen most mentioned are Mike Hughes of Central Florida, Jaire Alexander of Louisville and Josh Jackson of Iowa.
Up front there are three defensive tackles the mockers are weighing as potential Vikings in LaRon Payne of Alabama, Maurice Hurst of Michigan and Taven Bryan of Florida. A couple of the mock drafters even like the Vikings to take a defensive end and they both like Arden Key of LSU.
You thinking maybe a linebacker? The names Lorenzo Carter of Georgia and Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State get mentioned.
If there is a place it’s doubtful the Vikings would spend their first-round draft choice on, it would be at the offensive skill positions. With the new quarterback, the stud wide outs and a classic tight end, the Vikings are ready to throw the ball. With the return of Delvin Cook to the backfield, they should be set there, too. But a couple of mock drafters think the Vikings are going to dip into the skill position pool. One of them even thinks the Vikings will draft Britton and SDSU product Dallas Goedert to play tight end. If not, another guy likes them to take Mike Gesicki of Penn State. One mock drafter even had them taking a running back in Darrius Guice of LSU, who is, by the way, the second best running back in the draft.
My prediction is that by the time the Vikings’ pick comes around, they will have about five guys they like on their draft board and some team will want to move up into the first round for a second time. They will give the Vikings some ammo later in the draft to work with and general manager Rick Spielman will take advantage of that. Besides, I just named around 20 guys the mock draftniks think the Vikings will take in the first round. I bet half of them will be there in the second round and a couple of them will still be there in the third round.
In fact, keep my list handy. We’ll see if the Vikings get any of them for next year’s team.