MINNEAPOLIS - The NFL is hosting a mock draft on Monday to test out any potential glitches before the first round of the virtual NFL Draft starts Thursday night.
The original plan of glitz, glamour and boats outside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas had to be severely altered due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, everyone involved with the NFL Draft will be working remotely, from the confines of their own homes. That includes Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will be announcing draft picks Thursday night from his east coast basement.
All 32 NFL teams held a mock draft on Monday as the league gets ready to host its first virtual draft. Several of the teams have taken to social media to display the draft setup for staff members. That includes the Minnesota Vikings and General Manager Rick Spielman. It probably looks a lot like the most sophisticated setups of all of us at home when we do our fantasy football drafts.
The setup includes two large flat screen TVs, two computer monitors, a laptop and a fax machine. A draft room is on one of the big screens, presumably where Spielman can communicate live with his staff, who will also be working remotely from their homes.
NFL officials said last Friday up to three staff members per team can submit picks if the person in charge is having technical difficulties doing so. NFL personnel also have the ability to stop the clock in the event of a technical issue. League officials are hosting an open conference call among all 32 teams during the draft to keep communication lines open, and trades can be discussed among teams on conference calls.
The NFL has 58 draft prospects that are participating in virtual green room, as they wait for their name to be called Thursday night remotely from their homes. Included in that list is Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who is likely to go in the first or second round.
The WNBA held its virtual draft last Friday night, and it went off mostly without a hitch.
The Vikings have the No. 22 and No. 25 picks in the first round Thursday night. They have 12 picks in total, barring trades.
Spielman will hold his annual pre-draft session with Twin Cities media Tuesday afternoon.