Two years ago the VIKINGS roster had me thinking they were clearly gaining ground on the PACKERS in the NFC North. Coming off a mediocre 2016 season and losing some key pieces from that roster now has me thinking the team has some major holes to fill and needs an infusion of new young talent at multiple positions. And on top of all that, their Round 1 Pick is missing for the acquisition of SAM BRADFORD. Let’s proceed with my attempt to help them upgrade their talent base in the 2017 Draft.
Round2 Pick48 TIM WILLIAMS/OLB/ER ALABAMA 6’3/244 PPR#47
The solid career of CHAD GREENWAY is over and the roster is thin at the LB spots. So let’s grab a good college player, from a top collegiate program. And let’s take a guy who appears to have some serious upside to him. WILLIAMS is an unpolished player, but a very good athlete. MIKE ZIMMER & DC GEORGE EDWARDS should be able to develop this young man. I would envision a platoon situation where WILLIAMS & LAMUR split time depending upon which down/distance situation develops. WILLIAMS top skill was providing edge-rush for the Tide, but should be able to develop into even more if coached up.
Round3 Pick79 TAYLOR MOTON/OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320. PPR#80
MOTON is a huge guy who may be best suited moving inside to OG as a solid partner for ALEX BOONE. MOTON was a 4-year starter for HC FLECK, who now resides across town, leading the Golden Gopher program. MOTON is massive with long arms (34 1/8″) and big hands (10 3/4″). But his feet may be too slow to man OT in the NFL. He is a mauler and that should play well inside at the pro level. I would look for him to move another ex-MAC player, Willie Beavers, out of his starting job at RG. Its another need Pick, but with good value at this spot. A potential plug and play starter. And he may be worth an initial look-see at OT when Training Camp opens if the need is greater there.
Round3 Pick86 JOSH MALONE/WR TENNESSEE 6’3/208 PPR#91
MALONE is a really good athlete, who had a breakout year in 2016 for the VOLS. He caught 50 balls, for 972 yards & 11 TD. He ran a fast 4.42/40 at the Combine but may play even faster than that in pads. He is always a threat to go long, which will help stretch the field in the secondary, opening up more routes for BRADFORD to survey. He has strong, good sized (9 3/4″) hands to win possession battles with smaller defenders. If he can adjust to the pro game quickly and a guy named TREADWELL can come on in his second year in the League, the VIKES could have a very deep, talented receiving corps.
Round4 Pick120 JUSTIN EVANS/S TEXAS A&M 6’0/193 PPR#121
HARRISON SMITH has become one of the top S in the NFL. But his partner in the deep secondary, Andrew Sandejo, is a hard working, over achieving player, who is often over matched trying to cover receivers deep. EVANS presents a potential upgrade over Sandejo. In fact EVANS biggest flaw may be that he hits so hard, and recklessly, that he knocks himself out at times. A bit more discipline and better judgment could open up a starting slot for EVANS, maybe even as a Rookie. In 2016 EVANS recorded 87 tackles, 8 PBU & 4 INT for the Aggies. He recorded a 4.57/40 at the Combine. Those numbers cry out that EVANS has starter potential.
Round4 Pick128 VINCENT TAYLOR/DT OKLAHOMA STATE 6’3/304 PPR#128
Some time ago the Vikes selected a DT from Okie State named KEVIN WILLIAMS who played at a Pro Bowl level for a decade or so in Purple & Gold. TAYLOR isn’t as big or as talented as that guy, but he made a lot of noise controlling the middle of the DL during his college career. He was a Team Captain for the Cowboys and in 2016 he recorded 51 tackles, which included 13 TFL. He ran a respectable 5.10/40 at the Combine and his hands measured 10 1/8″, while his arms were 34 3/4″ long. I doubt he’s stout enough to dominate at the pro level, but with questions about the return to health of SHARIF FLOYD from a knee injury TAYLOR may need to step up as a rotational player as a Rookie. And from my watching of him in action, I think he can get the job done as a pro.
Round5 Pick160 CORN ELDER/CB MIAMI(F) 510/179 PPR#154
ELDER may be a bit small and a tad slow (4.50/40) to be considered a potential starter at CB in the NFL, but the tough little guy, who recorded 76 tackles last season, to go along with 13 PBU & 1 INT, shows no fear on the football field. He should have no problem assuming a prominent role in several sub-packages for the Vikes and will gladly play on Special Teams units. What he lacks in size & speed, he more than makes up for in quickness and toughness, both mental & physical.
Round6 Pick199 WAYNE GALLMAN/RB CLEMSON 6’/215 PPR#203
GALLMAN shows no special skills that would make him a Top 100 draftee. But he can do a bit of everything which could make him a very nice fit with MURRAY & McKINNON. He is a violent, punishing runner who gives himself up for the team. He is also a solid receiving threat out of the backfield and is a good blocker in pass-pro. That last skill may be his ticket to some third down playing time. This represents a very good value at the Pick situation.
Round7 Pick232 RICKY SEALS-JONES/WR/TE TEXAS A&M 6’5/243 PPR#234
I present to you a guy who represents what a 7th Round Pick is designed to be in today’s NFL. A highly touted high school athlete who never really developed in his college career. For a guy of his size and talent to be ranked this low is a crime. If the Vikes coaches can wake up this sleeping giant he could be something special. Given his size and mediocre speed (4.69/40) he cries out to me to be a TE conversion project. The team is not deep at TE right now and it could allow them to work with him if he shows a good work ethic this summer. A combination of cracking the whip, with one coach to counsel him & encourage him, could spark some fire in him. Worth a flier in my opinion.
That’s what I think your team needs and should get VIKINGS faithful. Time to develop and play the youngsters in that beautiful new stadium folks.