How Some Experts Graded the Vikings Draft
The draft officially ended on Saturday, but the work is only beginning for the NFL hopefuls.
The Vikings got plenty of production from their 2015 class. Last year’s class did not fare well, but there is still a chance they could redeem themselves though.
This year’s class could be pretty good for them, but only time will tell. Here is how some of the experts graded the Vikings draft:
Without a first-round pick, the Vikings were put in a tough spot in the draft this year. They still managed to get first-round value in running back Dalvin Cook. I think he can be a star in the NFL, and trading a fourth-round pick to get him was worth it. On the field, he’s a playmaker who runs with speed, shiftiness, and enough power.
The Vikings needed help on the offensive line, and they got it in Ohio State’s Pat Elflein. Whether it’s guard or center, he’s a starter on the line. He’s a tough and instinctive blocker who could become one of the leaders on the team.
Fourth-round pick Jaleel Johnson is good insurance if there are issues with defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd. He’s a good run-stopper and can split a gap. Inside linebacker Ben Gedeon, at worst, is a solid depth addition. He could push for playing time on the weak side and on special teams. Fifth-round pick Danny Isidora of Miami provides good depth on the offensive line. Sixth-round pick Bucky Hodges was a nice addition as a movable weapon on offense.
The Vikings did not own a first-round pick because of the Sam Bradford trade. Things worked out anyway: In Round 2, they landed a Round 1 talent (RB Dalvin Cook); in Round 3, they landed a Round 2 talent (G/C Pat Elflein). Cook has the upside of a star back in the NFL, despite what his lackluster testing numbers showed. Together, he and Latavius Murray should be able to kickstart the run game. Elflein helps there, too—he’s a plug-and-play starter for the interior. DT Jaleel Johnson (No. 109) is a big-bodied penetrator, and he’ll benefit from playing under Mike Zimmer. The Vikings took some shots from there: hard-nosed LB Ben Gideon (No. 120), WR Rodney Adams (No. 170), TE Bucky Hodges (No. 201). The first two picks, though, all but made up for sitting out Round 1.
The Vikings traded their 2017 first-rounder for Sam Bradford last year. He didn’t lead the team to the playoffs despite a pretty good defense, but he was a solid pickup considering the situation the team was in after Teddy Bridgewater‘s injury. With better weapons around him, Bradford could be even better — if he stays healthy. Minnesota didn’t have many picks to start with, and then they traded a fourth-round pick to move up to get Dalvin Cook. Cook’s talent was worthy of a top pick, so it’s hard to blame Rick Spielman for this move. Without Adrian Peterson, a bold move was needed. Hopefully, the concerns that dropped Cook to the second were much ado about nothing. Pat Elflein will provide strength in the middle of the offensive line for years to come.
Getting Jaleel Johnson early in the fourth is a smart move. He’ll control the line of scrimmage — just like fifth-round future starting guard Danny Isidora. Bucky Hodges is a receiver/tight end ‘tweener, but his hands are great and he can win vs. linebackers; that’s a good sixth-round pick. Elijah Lee presents inside and outside talents at linebacker, another excellent late-round selection.
Goals Entering the 2017 NFL Draft: The Vikings signed two tackles in free agency, yet they still need a couple of offensive linemen to shore up their horrible pass protection. They also need some other offensive pieces, such as a running back and a receiver. Not much is required on defense, fortunately.
2017 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Vikings didn’t have a Thursday night pick, so they weren’t able to partake in the first-round trading frenzy. That didn’t stop them from making significant moves on Day 2, however. Minnesota started by moving up to No. 41, where it selected Dalvin Cook. This might go down as one of the best selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. Cook has top-10 talent, but fell because of a combination of questionable character concerns and poor testing at the combine. Cook has elite vision, however, and he was amazing at Florida State. It would be surprising if he failed to put together a terrific pro career, especially now that he has a giant chip on his shoulder.
The Vikings moved up for Pat Elflein in the third round as well. I wasn’t as big of a fan because I didn’t rate Elflein as a third-round prospect. However, given all of Minnesota’s offensive line woes recently, I can understand why the team chose him. I just don’t think the Vikings needed to surrender resources for Elflein.
Outside of the two receiver picks, I like what the Vikings did on Day 3. Some great value picks they obtained were Danny Isidora, who will provide more help on the offensive line, and Bucky Hodges, who has great athleticism and upside to perhaps one day be a productive tight end.
Despite not having a first-round pick, the Vikings did well in the 2017 NFL Draft. My one main gripe is the trade for Elflein, but they were still able to come away with a solid class.
Analysis: The Vikings had no first-round pick after last year’s Sam Bradford trade but went for a high-volume draft, with an 11-player class. Getting RB Dalvin Cook with the ninth choice of the second round was well worth it. This draft was deep in runners but he’d been projected as a first-rounder by some observers. Cook will team with Latavius Murray at tailback for the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings. The center taken in the third round, Pat Elflein, could be a very solid although far-from-glamorous pick.
Dalvin Cook is an excellent player, but is he, a one-cut runner, going to be a seamless fit into the Vikings’ offense? Pat Elflein is an excellent center, but did the Vikings need a center? They have two already, and I like them both. Great value from getting Jaleel Johnson in the fourth round — absurd value — and I like Danny Isidora in the fifth, Bucky Hodges in the sixth, and Stacy Coley in the seventh, but the top two picks shouldn’t have that many question marks.
The Vikings needed to add more talent and they did in this draft. In free agency they signed tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. Both are expected to start. Elflein will likely start and even if Cook does not, he is still expected to see plenty of action. Rodney Adams could be the team’s kick returner.
It will be very interesting to see how their draft picks do. One thing is for sure. They need more productions from their rookies this year than they did last year. If their draft class this year even comes close to theirs from 2015, it will be very huge for them. They traded their first round pick for Sam Bradford, who had a good season, so technically their draft is already off to a nice start.