Taking An OL At #12 A Mockery?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 10, 2011 – 3:06 pm

It’s a bit early to begin analyzing mock drafts on a regular basis – our annual Mock Madness feature will return in March – but I ran across a few early mocks and thought it might make for good conversation here on the blog during a slow week. I think it’ll spark good conversation because the 3 mock drafts I found project the Vikings to take a player at a position other than QB.

Obviously QB is perceived by many to be the Vikings biggest need during the offseason, so many expect the Vikings will use their 1st-round pick (#12 overall) on a young QB. But maybe they won’t. Perhaps the Vikings QB of the future can be found in later rounds. Only time will tell us what happens. In the meantime, though, let’s take a closer look at whom the Vikings might choose at #12 if that player is not a QB.

The 3 mock drafts I stumbled upon today were on Sports Illustrated’s website ( and Don Banks is the Sports Illustrated writer with a mock draft on and he has the Vikings taking Colorado OT Nate Solder with their 1st-round pick. Solder stands at 6-8, 314 pounds and is very well-regarded in college football circles. He was Colorado’s starting LT and was named the Big 12’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2010. He’s also a consensus All-America and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy (nation’s top lineman).

On, draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. also projects the Vikings to take Solder. “Durable, smart and a guy who sustains his blocks, Solder is my top-rated tackle, a position that usually would be gone before this stage,” Kiper says. Kiper’s colleague at ESPN, Todd McShay, has the Vikings taking an OT, too. But his projection is Tyron Smith out of the University of Southern California. “Offensive line is not Minnesota’s biggest need but Smith is emerging as the top offensive tackle in the class with his natural feet and athleticism, and you can never go wrong drafting good offensive linemen,” McShay says.

So there you have it, 3 football observers who regularly post mock drafts project the Vikings to take an OT with their 1st-round pick. But my question is, would an OT be able to make an impact on the Vikings in 2010? I’m not sure that he could. I believe Bryant McKinnie has actually had a solid past 2 seasons – contrary to public opinion – and I think Phil Loadholt is on the right track at RT with a bright future in the NFL. I’m not against adding more depth along the OL, but I also want the #12 overall pick to be an impact player.

Perhaps the Vikings could take an OT in the 1st round and consider moving him to an interior position, with the intention to eventually move that player back to OT when an opportunity arises? Either way, I thought it was notable to see 3 different mock drafters project the Vikings taking an OT at a time when many Vikings fans perceive QB as the #1 need.

What say you Vikings fans? Let us know in the comments section below this entry.

UPDATE: McShay has issued a new mock draft and projects the Vikings to take DE Robert Quinn out of the University of North Carolina. “Quinn falls here because of the suspension that cost him the entire 2010 season, and the Vikings take advantage,” McShay says. “Their defense is aging, and two of their defensive ends — starter Ray Edwards and backup Brian Robison — are free agents. The team would like to find its future franchise quarterback here, but Locker needs too much time to develop.”

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