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Will the Vikings choose a DT this draft?

By: Zac Brown
April 9th, 2019
Photo: SB Nation

As the 2019 off-season continues and the NFL Draft is around the corner, there’s plenty of buzz surrounding the Vikings about whom they might select with the 18th pick. Most mock drafts out there have the Vikings taking an offensive lineman with the the occasional mock having Minnesota taking a Tight End as well. But another intriguing direction the Vikings could possibly go in the first round is defensive tackle.  Even though the Vikings brought Shamar Stephen back this off-season, they are still in the need of an athletic DT with the departure of  Sheldon Richardson. So let’s take a look at some of the top prospects from this year’s draft and how they might fit with the Vikings. I will be excluding Quinnen Williams due to the fact that’s he such a can’t miss prospect the odds he is available by the time the Vikings are on the clock is virtually impossible

Ed Oliver, Houston- Oliver is an absolute stud of an athlete, he had an exceptional pro day and absolutely showed he can come in and be a day one starter for almost any NFL team. Drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald, putting Oliver next to Linval Joseph would almost be unfair. I am under the belief that if he falls to Minnesota they would be more than happy to scoop him up, despite public outcry from the fans to draft an offensive lineman.

Christian Wilkins, Clemson- For Minnesota, there are a lot of things to like in Wilkins. Wilkins is a penetrating-three technique and I believe that is something that the Vikings are looking for. Like Oliver, Wilkins is athletically a freak and moves incredibly well, something DL Andre Patterson loves in his lineman. There is no doubt that he would fit in well with our hometown team, it’s just a matter of whether Rick Speilman feels like his value as a player is enough to draft him over the more glaring need of an offensive lineman.

Dexter Lawrence, Clemson- Like Wilkins, a Clemson product, Lawrence has different strengths than his former teammate. Lawrence is an extremely good defender against the run, and he is very good at pushing blocks wherever he wants. At 350 pounds he is bigger than a lot of other defensive tackle prospects in this draft, but probably not quite as good an athlete. With his grade as a late first round or early second round talent, I would say a selection of him by Minnesota seems unlikely.

Jefferey Simmons, Mississippi State- It’s always really hard to rank prospects coming off of an injury, but Simmons probably would have been a near top 10 pick if it was not for a torn ACL last year. He has also had some off the field issues, which the Vikings usually try to stay away from with their early picks. One thing that could make the Vikings an interesting possible destination for him is that Shamar Stephen is back, so the Vikings do not necessarily need to draft a defensive tackle to be an immediate starter in 2019, which would help Simmons’ healing process because there is no guarantee he will be ready to play at the beginning of the season. His ability to disrupt plays would be hard to ignore if he is on the board for the Vikings in round two.

So with the draft nearly approaching, fans everywhere will be glued to their TVs to see who will be the next member of their beloved team. Everybody has an opinion on who the Vikings should draft and how many draft picks we should use on Defensive Tackles, Offensive Lineman or any other position. But at the end of the day, the only thing we know is that on draft night with Rick Speilman at the helm, anything is possible.