INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Quarterback Jake Locker of Washington runs a passing drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could Jake Locker Be The Vikings QB Of The Future?

For the best in Minnesota Vikings coverage, be sure to check out The Daily Norseman.

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8 Total Updates since March 7, 2011
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Cam Newton, Auburn Quarterback, Will Work Out With Vikings Prior To NFL Draft

The Minnesota Vikings are going to need a quarterback next season with Brett Favre’s retirement and the decision to let Tarvaris Jackson become an unrestricted free agent and it might just be Cam Newton, the reigning Heisman winner.

Newton held his pro day at Auburn earlier this week — with no members of the Vikings in attendance — but an NFL.com report suggests that there’s no reason to read too far into that as the Vikings will instead hold a private workout with the quarterback at an undisclosed location prior to next month’s NFL Draft.

Minnesota is in the market for a quarterback after Brett Favre retired and the team decided not to tender a contract to Tarvaris Jackson, which likely indicates he will not return to Minnesota. Joe Webb, Patrick Ramsey and Rhett Bomar are the only quarterbacks the Vikings currently have on their roster. The Vikings reportedly had interest in Kyle Orton, but the Broncos have stated publicly that Orton is their starter.

Most experts (including our own Christopher Gates’ most recent NFL Mock Draft) have Newton being selected before the Vikings are on the clock with the 12th overall pick, but anything can happen in the next month and a half.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: CBS Sports Has Two Mock Drafts To Look At

CBS Sports has updated two mock drafts, and they each have different players going to Minnesota with the No. 12 pick.

Rob Rang has the Vikings taking Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet with their selection, while Chad Reuter has them taking USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Let me start with Reuter's pick first. While offensive line is a need for the Vikings, to be sure, I just don't see them taking a tackle this early in the draft. The two tackles they have, Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt, don't have skill sets that are conducive to moving either of them inside, and there aren't any interior linemen worth the No. 12 selection. Unless the team is under the impression that they can move either McKinnie and Loadholt. . .which would be a stretch with a CBA available, and impossible without one. . .there's no need for the Vikings to take a tackle in the first round.

As far as Rang's selection of Mallett, I'm not sure on that one, either. Mallett might be my favorite quarterback in this year's class, but I don't know if the Vikings are enamored with him or anything like that. Mallett made the headlines in two ways at the scouting combine. . .in a negative way at the podium, and in a positive way during the drills. Quite frankly, I don't care about his press conference. . .the guy looked as good, smooth, and natural throwing the football as any quarterback at the combine in a long time, and could be just the guy the Vikings need to run their offense going forward.

Some folks would probably label Mallett a "reach" at 12. I say that if the Vikings like Mallett at 12 and don't think they could get him in Round 2 (or with a trade down in Round 1), then they should jump on it.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper And His Hair Project Quinn To Minnesota

ESPN's NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper, Jr., has released "version 3.0" of his mock draft. . .sorry, you won't be able to see it unless you're an in$ider. . .and he has also placed North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn with the Vikings at the number 12 overall selection. Here's what Kiper has to say about the pick.

Minnesota has other needs, but if they remain here, a value like Quinn -- literally a guy who some might consider a potential No. 1 overall pick -- is too much to pass up at this position in the draft. Quinn combines power and athleticism, is a gifted natural pass-rusher, has great character and no health questions after not playing a down for North Carolina in 2010. If he falls to this point we could look back and call him the steal of the draft.

If you remember the mock draft that I did for the site here, I actually had Quinn going with the first overall pick, so I would obviously be ecstatic if the Vikings could somehow get him at #12. The Tarheels have their Pro Day on March 30, and it will be interesting to see if Quinn can propel himself higher up the boards.

Not that I would be sad if he didn't or anything.

For the record, in Kiper's draft, the top two quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton) are gone, the top two wide receivers (Julio Jones, A.J. Green) are gone, the top two defensive tackles (Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus) are gone, and the top two cornerbacks (Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara) are off the board.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Drafttek Gives The Vikings A Big Man

The folks at Drafttek and their simulator have updated their mock draft as well, and have given the Vikings a pick that, if it were to come to fruition, could end up being the steal of the first round at a position you might not immediately connect with a Vikings need.

In this simulation, Draftek has the Vikings selecting Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Here's the explanation.

For the 2nd straight week, the Vikings strike gold as value meets need. With Pat Williams retiring, Kevin facing suspension, that leaves only a pair of players who would be best suited as rotational guys in Fred Evans and Jimmy Kennedy as the remaining DTs on the roster to start the season. Of course that will be addressed one way or another, but finding a long term solution in the middle is essential for Les Frazier. Dareus is a disruptive force who can also hold his own in the running game. He might be best suited as a 3-tech, but let's not get picky.

Dareus is a monster, measuring in at 319 pounds at the Scouting Combine this past week. Pairing him up with Kevin Williams would once again solidify the middle of the Vikings' defensive line, and that would likely radiate out to the rest of the Minnesota defense as well.

Drafttek's draft simulator goes out through all seven rounds. . .here's who they have Minnesota selecting the rest of the way.

Round 2 (#43) - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

In a curious move, the Vikings elected not to assign either the transition or franchise tag to Sidney Rice, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and likely signalling then end of his Vikings career. This leaves the Vikings extremely thin at WR, likely forcing them to address the position early in the draft. Torrey Smith is a bit of a raw prospect whom some scouts liken to former Terp Darrius Heyward-Bey. Smith isn't quite as fast but also looks to have more potential as a feature WR as he's a more physical player, capable of beating press coverage.

Round Four (#105) - Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee
Round Five (#135) - Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
Round Five (#147) - Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
Round Six (#173) - Justin Rogers, CB, Richmond
Round Seven (#203) - Rob McGill, OT, Louisiana Tech

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Walter Football Gives Vikings A "Legacy" Pick

Since the good folks at Walter Football were kind enough to include our most recent mock draft in their mock draft database over the weekend, it's only right that we give them a premium space in our mock draft roundup.

Walt has posted his updated NFL Mock Draft on his website, and the pick for the Vikings is an interesting one, as he has Minnesota going with California defensive end Cameron Jordan with the number 12 pick. Here's what they have to say about it.

A couple of weeks ago, Leslie Frazier may have tipped his hand when he told the media that he was interested in finding the next Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco this offseason. Unfortunately for him, both Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are off the board.

Ray Edwards is a free agent and Everson Griffen's goal to average two arrests per weekend is finally coming to fruition. Minnesota needs help across from Jared Allen.

Cameron Jordan is arguably the best talent available. Jordan had an incredible season with 12.5 TFL and 5.5 sacks. He had a great Combine and was unblockable during the Senior Bowl practices. In fact, Marvin Lewis nearly kicked him out for hitting the quarterback.

I think Cameron Jordan would be an incredibly interesting pick for the Vikings, and would make a pretty good bookend on the other side of the line from Jared Allen. It doesn't hurt that he just happens to be the son of the greatest tight end in Vikings' history, Steve Jordan, either.

Their mock draft goes out to six rounds. . .here's who they have the Vikings taking after Round One.

Round Two (#43 overall) - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Round Four (#105 overall) - Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
Round Five (#136 overall) - DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami (FL)
Round Five (#147 overall) - Lee Ziemba, G, Auburn
Round Six (#167 overall) - Jerrard Tarrant, FS, Georgia Tech

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