NFL Draft Rumors: Vikings Leaning Toward Aaron Donald in Round 1, QB in Round 2

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Aaron Donald

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

While Blake Bortles coming off the board eighth to the Minnesota Vikings might be the best-case scenario for Bortles, it may not be how the team sees it playing out.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, the Vikings plan to use their first-round pick on a defensive player, then address the quarterback position with the No. 40 pick in the second round. King suggests the team — under defensive-minded coach Mike Zimmer — wants to find a disruptive front-seven player above all else.

King names former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald as a fit.

The Vikings are more inclined than ever to get their quarterback out of a bottlenecked group of passers at No. 40 in the second round. Vikes want a front-seven disruptor—defensive tackle Aaron Donald comes to mind—more than anything else up here.

The Vikings signed Linval Joseph away from the New York Giants this offseason and can pair him with 2013 first-round pick Shariff Floyd along their defensive front. With two big-time players already at defensive tackle, it may signal that the Vikings might be looking to move out of the No. 8 slot, according to Pro Football Talk.

The XN Sports Mock Draft 3.0 projects Bortles to be around for the Vikings’ picking at No. 8, with the logic that the team will have a difficult time passing up arguably the top quarterback in the 2014 class. In Minnesota, Bortles has a chance to sit a year behind incumbent Matt Cassel. He fits the mold of a prototypical pocket passer for offensive coordinator Norv Turner as well.

However, as King alluded to, the Vikings consider the ’14 class of quarterbacks a “bottlenecked group of passers.” And for Minnesota GM Rick Spielman, who swung and missed on Christian Ponder in the first round a few years back, none of the potential “top quarterbacks” in 2014 are a sure thing.

“That’s a big reason why we made it a high priority to sign Matt Cassel back. Every one of these quarterbacks … nothing is a sure thing. There’s no Andrew Luck, no Peyton Manning,” Spielman told SI. “It is such a mixed bag with each player—every one of them has positives, every one of them has negatives. And if that’s the way you end up feelings, why don’t you just wait till later in the draft, and take someone with the first pick you’re sure will help you right now? I agree with that coach, whoever it is. It is torturous this year.”

Donald is slated to fall to the Giants with the 12th overall selection, as TFY Draft Insider suggests he will come off the board sometime between picks No. 6 and 16. The report names the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, and Giants as the most likely landing spots and did not mention the Vikings.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.