Week 16 saw the Vikings improve their 2021 draft position by social distancing from Saints running back Alvin Kamara every time he touched the football.
They moved up to No. 13 while being forcefully shoved down and out of the 2020 playoff picture.
So now what?
On to Detroit, as quarterback Kirk Cousins said after Friday's 52-33 loss?
Mock draft time. Duh.
So, here you go, draftniks. After spending literally 30 to 31.5 minutes brushing up on the 2021 draft, this normally one-and-done, highly unsuccessful mock draft guesser gives you his first December mock draft. He stopped at 13 because he grew tired of the exercise and is old enough to remember just how many of these guys never live up to any of the things written about them before the draft.
So, here goes …
1. Jaguars (1-14)
They held a Week 16 quarterback competition … and Mike Glennon won, for pete's sake. PICK: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson.
2. Jets (2-13)
Now that Adam Gase has blown the Lawrence pick will his successor build around 2018 No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold or panic and grab the nearest quarterback? This is the NFL in the 2020s. He'll panic. PICK: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU.
3. Dolphins (10-5) (From Houston)
Talk about NFL sensory overload. The Dolphins have it all. Fans of actual football love them. Fans of spring crapshoots love them. On Saturday, Jon Gruden's inability to manage the end of a game handed Miami a 10th win and set up a win-and-they're-in playoff scenario for Week 17. Sunday, Houston lost to Cincinnati to leapfrog the Bengals into the top 3 in the draft. The only downside for the Texans is Miami owns the pick from the Laremy Tunsil trade. Do the Dolphins play it safe and pick another offensive tackle to protect Tua Tagovailoa or do they give him a familiar toy to play with? PICK: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama.
4. Falcons (4-11)
Matt Ryan isn't getting any younger or better, but Atlanta needs just about everything. A 6-2, 207-pound elite corner helps. PICK: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech.
5. Bengals (4-10-1)
Reuniting Joe Burrow with Ja'Marr Chase is tempting. But the first priority is keeping the young QB alive. PICK: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon.
6. Eagles (4-10-1)
The QB situation is a mess. But some defense also would be nice. PICK: Patrick Surtain II, DB, Alabama.
7. Lions (5-10)
Do they pull the trigger on Matthew Stafford's replacement? Or give the Vikings the pain-in-the-butt of having to cover the alleged next Tyreek Hill twice a year? PICK: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama.
8. Giants (5-10)
Is Daniel Jones the guy? Probably not. But it's too early to boot him. Especially with this many holes and no edge rushers off the board. PICK: Kwity Paye, edge, Michigan.
9. Panthers (5-10)
What better bridge to the future than Teddy Bridgewater? PICK: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State.
10. Broncos (5-10)
Keep swinging, Mr. Elway. PICK: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State.
11. Cowboys (6-9)
They need more defensive backs. In this scenario, an edge rusher could be the best option. PICK: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami, Fla.
12. Chargers (6-9)
They found their quarterback last year. Now let's give him some better protection. PICK: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern.
Poor Mike Zimmer was pummeled twice on Christmas Day. First, his good buddy, Sean Payton, attached historical significance to Zim's defensive debacle when he fed Kamara a sixth rushing touchdown that tied a 91-year-old record set by Ernie Nevers.
Then a reporter got Zim to eat his now infamous last words that he's never coached a bad defense. Zim's response — "This is a bad defense. Worst one I've ever had" — was instantly stamped on the title page of the 2020 season.
So, yeah, Zim needs help defensively. An elite three-technique tackle who can play the run and pressure the quarterback would fit nicely with all the pieces Zimmer should be getting back.
There is a lot to be said about having guards who don't end up being thrown into Kirk Cousins' lap in key passing situations.
There's a guy at Ohio State named Wyatt Davis. He's 6-4, 315 pounds. Schooled in zone blocking. Smooth feet, strong, smart, yada, yada.
He's started 21 consecutive games at right guard. He helped the Buckeyes into the college football playoffs. And among 2020 Associated Press first-team All-Americans, he's the only repeat pick from 2019.
So, here goes …
13. Vikings (6-9)
Guards aren't as easy to find as some like to suggest. Especially the elite ones. PICK: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State.