Minnesota Vikings: Recapping the Draft
The draft is now over, but the work is only beginning for all the new players. Who will make a big impact and who will not? Only time will tell and as always it will be very interesting to find out.
Here is a look at all of the Vikings selections:
-Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (2nd round, 41st overall)
In three seasons, Cook rushed for 4,464 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and 46 touchdowns. He also caught 79 passes.
Adrian Peterson is gone after 10 seasons with the Vikings. Latavius Murray was signed and will likely be the starter, but Cook has a chance to be the running back of the future and has a good chance at being that guy. Cook could still play a critical role this season even he does not start.
“Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer did their homework and vetted all of these running backs. Dalvin Cook is a first-round talent who slipped into the second round solely because of the off-the-field issues. … When you put his tape on, he’s special. He’ll make a difference in Minnesota.” — Mike Mayock (NFL.com)
-Ohio State guard/center Pat Elflein (3rd round, 70th overall)
Spent his first three seasons at right guard before moving to center last season. He did not miss a beat and was a first-team All-American selection and was named the best center in the nation.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said he will probably play center. He has a great chance at being an opening day starter.
“One of the most technically advanced offensive lineman in this draft. He’s not the best athlete in the world, but he’s technically proficient. He’s one of those guys that will play 10 years in the NFL. I love the fact that he can play center and both guards. Really solid pick by the Vikings.” — Mike Mayock (NFL.com)
-Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (4th round, 109th overall)
Linval Joseph is one of the best defensive tackles in the game, but would surely benefit from having a good tackle next to him. With Sharrif Floyd’s career in jeopardy, the Vikings needed to address this position.
Johnson led the Hawkeyes with 7.5 sacks last season and 10 tackles for a loss. Both Shamar Stephen and Tom Johnson are very good backups, but not starter material. J. Johnson could perhaps start right away.
-Michigan linebacker Ben Gedeon (4th round, 120th overall)
Earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Led the Wolverines with 106 tackles.
Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are already locked in as the starters, but with Chad Greenway retired and Emmanuel Lamur looking average at best last season, the Vikings needed more depth.
Rookie linebacker Kentrell Brothers was used a lot more on special teams than at linebacker. Gedeon will likely have the same type of role.
Gedeon is a depth addition to a linebacker crew that needed it. He’ll start out on special teams coverage units, but he has the opportunity to work himself into the rotation as early as next season. –Mark Dulgerian (NFL.com)
-South Florida wide receiver Rodney Adams (5th round, 170th overall)
The Vikings lost Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency, but they may have found his replacement.
Like Patterson, Adams is also a threat whenever he has the ball in his hands. As a wide receiver, runner out of the backfield and as a kick returner.
Last season, Adams caught 67 passes for 822 yards and give touchdowns. He also rushed for 231 yards and five touchdowns on 23 carries (10 yards per carry, with a long of 92 yards). He returned 22 kicks for 534 yards (24.3 yards per kick). The previous season he returned 17 kicks for 466 yards (27.4 yards per kick) and a touchdown. He is quick with a 4.4 second 40-yard dash.
The Vikings have had issues with the deep ball the past three seasons, mainly because of the protection. With the offensive line expected to improve, they should have more opportunities. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen will continue to be the starters, but look for Adams to get some deep passes thrown to him this year.
-Miami guard Danny Isidora (5th round, 180th overall)
After redshirting his first season and missing the first 10 games of the 2013 season, Isidora had been the Hurricanes starting right guard since 2014. He was one of three guards to be named second-team All-ACC last season.
Second rounder Pat Elflein could start at center with Joe Berger starting at right guard, but given all the injuries the Vikings had last season, especially on the offensive line, it showed how important depth is. The Vikings now have more depth and talent up front than last season.
Isidora could perhaps be a starter some time down the road.
-Virginia Tech tight end Bucky Hodges (6th round, 201st overall)
Big target at 6’6,” 260 pounds and could become a red zone threat right away. Hodges is a converted quarterback and earned USA Today Freshman All-American honors in 2014. He was second-team All-ACC in 2015 and a third-team selection last season. In three seasons, he caught 133 passes for 1,747 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Kyle Rudolph is coming off his best season and will continue to have a big role, but having another pass catching tight end would certainly help. The Vikings were interested in Jared Cook before he signed with the Oakland Raiders. Rhett Ellison left for the New York Giants, but he was used more for his blocking. Hodges is not a very good blocker, but fellow tight end David Morgan is.
Given the struggles on offense for the Vikings, the more weapons they add the better. He likely won’t see very much action outside of the red zone, but if he can even help this struggling offense a little bit, the Vikings would certainly welcome that.
-Miami wide receiver Stacy Coley (7th round, 219th overall)
Named third-team All-ACC in each of the past two seasons. Had 63 receptions for 754 yards and nine touchdowns.
He has also shown the ability to return kicks. Returned 22 kicks for 570 yards (25.9 yards per kick) and touchdown in 2013 and 24 kicks for 541 yards (22.5 yards per kick) in 2014. Adams could very well become the kick returner, but Coley could also compete with him. Practice squad may be the most likely scenario though.
Coley is another field-stretcher for the Vikings offense. The talent is there to earn a rotational role but he’ll need to show coaches he wants to compete early on if he’s going to stick around. –Mark Dulgerian (NFL.com)
-Northwestern defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (7th round, 220th overall)
Honorable All-Big Ten mention. Recorded 10 sacks last season and 13.5 in the previous three seasons combined.
The Vikings are very deep at defensive end. If Odenigbo makes the team, it will likely be as a practice squad member.
-Kansas State linebacker Elijah Lee (7th round, 232nd overall)
Was named first-team All-Big 12 last season as junior. He recorded 110 tackles. Was named second-team All-Big 12 the previous season, recording 80 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.
Could find a place on special teams or the practice squad.
-North Carolina State cornerback Jack Tocho (7th round, 227th overall)
Team captain last season. Recorded 37 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions. Was also the team’s defensive back of the year in 2014 and co-freshman of the year in 2012.
Could find a place on special teams or the practice squad.
Despite not having a first round pick, the Vikings still wound up with 11 picks. Not a surprise though given how much general manager Rick Spielman likes to add plenty of picks.
Only time will tell, but this looks like it could be a pretty good draft class. They addressed positions that needed to be addressed, especially on offense. Elflein could very well start on opening day and even if Cook does not, he could very well be the long-term solution at running back and still play a critical role this season. Johnson, Adams and Hodges could also become steals.
Last season the Vikings did not get much production from their rookies after having plenty from their 2015 class. If this class can even come to close to 2015, it will be huge for them. Technically this draft is already off to a nice start. Sam Bradford was traded for this year’s first rounder and he had a very good year.