It's close to impossible for a team to fly a little under the radar three weeks out from the 2014 NFL Draft, but the Minnesota Vikings are doing their best to not draw attention to themselves as a team with a top-10 pick. It seems like we're hearing daily about what possible trades the Detroit Lions might make and there are no shortage of St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders (among others) rumors floating around every week.
Outside of the Twin Cities though, the Vikings' name just hasn't come up quite as often as other clubs lately. Perhaps that's due to the fact that there's a new head coach in charge with Mike Zimmer and, outside of a few player visits, the team is generally trying to keep a lower profile. As a result, opinions on what the franchise will do in the first round of the draft is split.
Sure they definitely need a quarterback of the future but with so many talented positional players, can they afford to pass up an elite defensive player with the eighth overall pick? We'll find out in less than three weeks but based on what Zimmer needs for his defense, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley could make a lot of sense for the team.
"I think that is definitely a consideration," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said about Mosley on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". "That works out pretty well. Jasper Brinkley is coming back to Minnesota but he's not solidified there at middle linebacker."
Mosley has been a fast riser over the past two weeks to the point where there's plenty of buzz that he could go in the top 10, way up from the previous 20-30 range you saw him show up at in mock drafts. Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah believes the All-American linebacker is absolutely worth a top-10 selection and has him going to the Buffalo Bills with the ninth overall pick in his latest mock draft.
That's only a single selection behind the Vikings, so it's not as though the team would be reaching terribly to take him at No. 8.
Minnesota ranked behind only the Dallas Cowboys last season in terms of yards per game given up on defense, so there's certainly room to improve on that side of the ball. Mosley is one of the more polished linebackers to come out of college in the past few years and excels in coverage for someone at his position.
If the team opts to go a different direction on the first night of the draft however, there will still be a number of options Zimmer could turn to in the second night that could provide a boost to his defense.
"When you talk about [Chris] Borland out of Wisconsin in the second round, you're getting an instinctive, terrific player," said Davis. "Preston Brown (out of Louisville) is a plugger. Shyane Skov is a terrific blitzer from Stanford too."
Grabbing Mosley early would certainly set the tone for Zimmer as he leads the organization in his first season as head coach, but it's clear he's got some options in the draft as he goes about shoring up the linebacker position for 2014 and beyond.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.