MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Vikings fans should expect to hear and read about several rumors over the next week as the NFL Draft approaches.
This year’s event, which for die-hard football fans is the equivalent of Christmas morning, commences with the first round on April 30 in Chicago. Before then, those who claim to be NFL insiders will speculate on which player will go to which team and which organization may make a trade, whether it’s to move up or down in the draft.
The Vikings will be in the middle of the fire as far as draft speculation goes. Will they trade Adrian Peterson for draft picks? Will there not be enough of a package for team officials to part ways with Peterson? Will the Vikings go offense or defense with their first pick? Will they tip their hat either way?
It should be interesting to see what transpires over the next week in the build-up to the NFL Draft. With that said, here are 10 possibilities for when the Vikings are on the clock with the No. 11 pick in the first round of the draft.
DeVante Parker: Louisville WR
If the Vikings go with offense, it’s hard to look past wide receiver DeVante Parker. He would be reuniting with Teddy Bridgewater and was one of the better receivers in the ACC last year. Two years ago in the American Athletic Conference, he scored 12 touchdowns and averaged more than 16 yards per catch. Last year, he averaged nearly 20 yards per catch and had five touchdowns in seven games. But after acquiring Mike Wallace in free agency, the Vikings may not look at a wide receiver for their top draft choice.
Melvin Gordon: Wisconsin RB
It would be very telling if the Vikings chose Melvin Gordon with the No. 11 pick. It would signal the departure of Peterson in one way or another. Gordon was a dominant running back for the Badgers, running for more than 2,500 yards and scoring 29 rushing touchdowns last year. The only way the Vikings even consider Gordon is if they part ways with Peterson before the draft, which is unlikely.
Brandon Scherff: Iowa OL
Brandon Scherff was arguably the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten last year, and he’ll likely make the line wherever he goes significantly better. Matt Kalil had has struggles with Minnesota last season, and picking Scherff could give the Vikings depth in a needed spot. They could also need help on the offensive line in the event they don’t have a running back like Peterson to make defenders miss.
Amari Cooper: Alabama WR
Amari Cooper was one of the most dominant wide receivers last year in one the best conferences in the country. He finished his career with the Crimson Tide with 16 receiving touchdowns last year and averaged about 14 yards per catch. It’s unlikely he’ll be available when the Vikings are up at No. 11, but if they are he’s a guy they can’t afford to overlook.
Trae Waynes: Michigan State CB
If the Vikings want to go defense with their first-round pick, a very popular choice among the experts is cornerback Trae Waynes out of Michigan State. He was a leader on one of the best defenses in the country and had 71 tackles last year. Of those, 34 were solo tackles and he had three interceptions. If they choose him at No. 11, he’ll contend for a starting spot this year in the secondary.
Todd Gurley: Georgia RB
Todd Gurley was projected to be a top-five pick in the NFL Draft before his last season in Georgia ended with a knee injury. If he was still around at No. 11 and the Vikings took him, it could also signal Peterson’s departure. Last year, he had nine touchdowns and more than 900 yards rushing before getting hurt. In 2013, he ran for 989 yards and 16 scores.
Kevin White: West Virginia WR
It is unlikely that he would be available, but West Virginia’s Kevin White is a top option for a wide receiver if the Vikings are looking for one with the No. 11 pick. White had 10 touchdowns last season and averaged more than 13 yards per catch. He’s also a large target at 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 209 pounds. His playmaking ability makes him an immediate impact type player wherever he ends up.
Shane Ray: Missouri DE
He’s very similar to what the Vikings have with Anthony Barr, but Shane Ray out of Missouri would be hard to pass up if he’s there at No. 11. He played defensive end in college but would likely be a hybrid and play some linebacker in the NFL. He would give the Vikings some speed off the edge that you need to get a pass rush. He’s extremely athletic and would make an immediate impact in Minnesota.
Marcus Peters: Washington CB
The Vikings are looking at adding another cornerback to play opposite Xavier Rhodes this season, and if Trae Waynes is gone at No. 11, Marcus Peters out of Washington is another option. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass deflections last year with the Huskies. Peters had 11 interceptions in three seasons at Washington.
Landon Collins: Alabama S
If the Vikings want to add depth to their secondary with the No. 11 pick, Landon Collins out of Alabama is definitely a viable option. He played in 41 career games, starting the last 23, with the Crimson Tide. As a junior last year, he recorded 103 tackles and three interceptions on the way to being named a unanimous First-Team All American selection. If available, he could definitely make an immediate impact in Minnesota.
The Vikings have a plethora of options with their first-round draft pick. But like everything else with Minnesota, a lot depends on if Adrian Peterson returns to the Vikings. Regardless, they should get a good player with the No. 11 pick who will play as a rookie.