The Vikings are one of the busiest teams on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. Here’s what they’ve done along with analysis of each pick:
The Vikings needed to address the defensive tackle position with uncertainty surrounding Sharrif Floyd’s future. The only current players on the roster at the three-technique position with experience are Datone Jones and Tom Johnson and both of those players are likely to be used in pass-rushing situations. While Johnson has a solid grade from PFF in pass rushing and picked up 7.5 sacks last year, he has the size at 6-foot-3, 315-pounds to play on run downs next to Linval Joseph. He could have an immediate impact if he adapts to the NFL game quickly in camp.
It appears the Vikings wanted to fill Chad Greenway’s role as a run-stopping linebacker, but they passed up on higher potential players to select a LB that is unlikely to be effective in coverage in the NFL. Players like Michigan tight end Jake Butt or Iowa’s Desmond King were passed over despite team need and possibility of having a more valueable role than Gedeon will play.
The Vikings needed to add another receiver to the mix, so they selected one who can return, run and play in the slot. There are concerns about Adams’ strength, but he is known for his drive and character. It appears Minnesota is looking for the next Stefon Diggs type. Other players were ranked higher on draft boards, but everyone is a long shot at this point. The fact that he worked out with Adam Thielen might have influenced the pick.
If the Vikings walked away from the draft without multiple offensive linemen, it would have been difficult to call the draft a complete success. But they picked interior linemen Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora, who is a quality run blocker who will need to improve his strength. For 2017, he will act as a depth player with hopes that he could develop into a starter or a player who is used in goal line packages.
One of the most intriguing picks for the Vikings. If Hodges works out, he could be a nightmare matchup at 6-foot-6, 257-pounds and a 4.57 40-yard dash. He was a deep threat for the Virginia Tech offense. The Vikings could use a tight end who can go down the field. Hodges will be a player to watch in training camp.
You don’t have to look very far to find long-shot receivers that have worked out for the Vikings. Their two starters are a fifth-round pick and undrafted free agency. Coley is another ya-never-know pick, who runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and flashed deep receiving ability, catching nine touchdowns for the ‘Canes. There are questions about his commitment to football, but nobody in the seventh round is without concerns.
A pass rusher who put up big numbers with 23.5 sacks in his college career and 10 sacks in 10 games last season. He can compete for a backup spot and role on special teams.
Undersized, speedy, playmaking linebackers are always worth taking in the late rounds. Worst case, they can often be effective on special teams, best case a player like Lee can use his quickness and instincts to develop into a starter.
The Vikings did not really address their defensive secondary until the seventh round, which is a little surprising considering they lost Captain Munnerlyn to free agency and Terence Newman is 39 years old. Tocho was one of the strongest players at the Combine but ran just a 4.54 40-yard dash. Speed isn’t always the biggest factor when it comes to NFL success for corners, so it’s possible the Vikings got a player who can turn into a press corner.
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