- Ben Goessling, ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings have spent enough time with Trae Waynes before the draft that the Michigan State cornerback has become the popular pick for the team at No. 11 in recent mock drafts. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. still has the Vikings taking Waynes in his 'Grade A' mock draft, just as he has in the last few iterations of his draft predictions, but it's what Kiper did in the second round that caught my attention.
He had the Vikings taking enigmatic Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who has drawn comparisons to Calvin Johnson but could slide in the draft because of the off-field problems that got him kicked off the team at Missouri. Coach Mike Zimmer typically hasn't shied away from players with a checkered past, believing those players are often the ones with the greatest motivation to change their narrative, so to speak. The Vikings also have enough trust in the structure they'd put around a player like Green-Beckham -- from offensive coordinator Norv Turner to receivers coach George Stewart and even quarterback Teddy Bridgewater -- that they could draft him in reasonable confidence he'd fit in.
Still, it would be interesting to see how things play out with a wide receiver group that includes Mike Wallace and Cordarrelle Patterson -- both trying to turn the page after rocky 2014 seasons -- and a young cast of other wideouts (Jarius Wright, Charles Johnson and Adam Thielen) in addition to Green-Beckham. The Vikings are elated about what Wallace could mean for their offense, and some of the younger members of the group could improve, too. Green-Beckham would be unlike any other receiver the Vikings currently have, but adding him to the group would carry risks.
In the third round, Kiper has the Vikings taking Boise State running back Jay Ajayi, who has visited with the Vikings before the draft and would give the team a good between-the-tackles runner who can also make defenders miss. That would be particularly helpful if Adrian Peterson were going to be with another team, but in light of Peterson's age (30), another young running back wouldn't be a bad investment for the Vikings no matter what happens.
ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has the Minnesota Vikings taking Trae Waynes and Dorial Green-Beckham in his 'Grade A' mock draft.