We are now up to pick No. 23 in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. This is the first of two picks for the Minnesota Vikings, and we might be able to predict what they will do with at least one of these picks. They signed wide receiver Greg Jennings, but could still use some more talent opposite Jennings. Their Niners Nation GM is Karl Cuba and his pick is not a shocker. With the twenty-third pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Vikings select Keenan Allen, WR, Cal.
Explanation: The Vikings really need a receiver, as even after signing Greg Jennings the cupboard is pretty bare. If they have any chance of Ponder developing into a productive quarterback then they are going to have to give him someone to throw to. The only player on the roster who caught more than forty passes in 2012 was Kyle Rudolph, and Jennings was injured for most of last year. While he is currently healthy, Jennings must be considered an injury risk this year as well. Reinforcements are required and will be expected to contribute this fall.
I was hoping to have a choice between Hopkins and Allen, which would have allowed me to select another position with the assurance that one would be available at pick 25. Both players fit the west coast scheme that the Vikings run with the size to play any receiver position and work the middle of the field.
Allen has slipped during the predraft process as he was unable to work out for scouts due to a strained knee but that shouldn't hobble him for long. Without the ability to have a team doctor look at his medical scans I'm going to assume it isn't going to linger on into training camp. I think that he represents a reasonable convergence of need and value at this spot.
Trevor Woods: Not too long ago, Keenan Allen was the top ranked receiver in this draft class. A lingering knee injury has pushed his draft stock down a couple of notches. A team will have to be certain Allen's knee is 100% healthy before they are willing to part with their first round pick for him. Allen is actually holding a workout for teams today, which could decide whether he is drafted in round one or not. While Allen wouldn't be a player that could do the things Percy Harvin did for the Vikings, he could become a receiving threat of the Sidney Rice mold. The Vikings did sign Greg Jennings, and re-signed Jerome Simpson as well, so I am not sure if they will go receiver with their first selection. This is a deep receiving class, so the Vikings could find a receiver in round two if they wanted and pick up someone here to help their defense. The Vikings could go cornerback or linebacker here instead.
Nick Chiamardas: Absolutely love this pick. The Vikings need to find out if Christian Ponder is the answer at quarterback. The best way to do that is to provide him with weapons and turn him loose. Signing Jennings was a great start, and drafting Allen would give them a true vertical threat. The Cal receiver was widely considered to be the best in this year's class prior to an injury that kept him from working out for scouts this offseason. Allen, Jennings, Kyle Rudolph and Adrian Peterson give Ponder plenty of offensive firepower.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, Cal