The latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft was published today at SBNation.com, covering the first two rounds. And I'm convinced that Brian Galliford, the guy that came up with this two round mock, hates the Vikings.
In the first round, he still has DE Da'Quan Bowers, the Clemson defensive end that might or might not have a good work ethic, and might or might not need microfracture surgery on a knee that might or might not be healthy, going to the Vikings:
12. Minnesota Vikings: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. The knee has caused him to slide, but it's tough to project him past Minnesota, where he could start.
I'm a fan of Galliford, but I still don't like the pick. He admits that the lingering knee issue that has dogged Bowers for months is causing him to slide, and when you throw in the questions about how hard he works, and the 'm word' being thrown around, Bowers seems to be the guy that is starting to fit the 'draft day slide' narrative, almost to a T. There are several defensive ends that have been projected to the Vikings, including JJ Watt, Cameron Jordan, and Ryan Kerrigan. If the Vikings feel DE is their #1 priority, I would prefer any of those three over Bowers at this point.
In the second round, kind of a stunner:
43. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas. Mallett's stock is red hot right now - so much so that he'd be a huge steal this late.
I agree that Mallet has done a lot to improve his draft value, sort of a Da'Quan Bowers in reverse. I also think if Galliford is right about Jake Locker (projects him at #10 to the Redskins), then I think there might be a run on quarterbacks and Mallet will be taken late in the first round, and you could see guys like Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton also sneak in to the back of the first round.
Fortunately, we only have a week and some change before we quit speculating and see what goes down for real.