VIKINGS 2019 Draft Review

By | June 26, 2019

So in keeping with the theme of the NFC North, let’s talk about the VIKINGS, who led the 2019 Draft in quantity of Picks, with 12. But as always, the question that immediately follows is ‘How did they do on the quality of those Picks?’. Here are my opinions on that.

Round 1, Pick 18
6’3/305  4.94/40  PP#27
Was he a bit too early at Pick 18, considering that he is an OC? That is certainly possible, but not if he starts at that slot for them for the next dozen years, and that is probably what he will do, which is great news for QB KIRK COUSINS and even beyond. BRADBURY entered the WOLFPACK football program as a TE, but ended up starting at OC for the last 3 seasons. He’s everything you look for in an OC. He’s still a good athlete, (see 40-time), with a very high FBI. He won the 2018 Rimington Award. He handles his responsibilities, and then often has time to help others complete theirs. He was the most consistent OL at the Senior Bowl back in January. Out of 39 OL at the Combine, the Ourlads ranking system had him as the 3rd most athletic overall. Now the VIKES are just hoping that PAT ELFLEIN makes a good starting OG, cause this guy is clearly coming to town to take over as the VIKINGS starting OC. I don’t care what position they play, any time you get plug and play starter, it is a good Pick.

Round 2, Pick 50
6’2/242  4.63/40  PP#30
In this man’s opinion, with the team having reached a contact agreement with KYLE RUDOLPH, it may only enhance the value of SMITH on their roster. It should allow the team to flex SMITH around in their formations, thus allowing him to be on the field more often than if confined to an inline TE spot. He may not fit the TE stereotype for height, but he is a relentless blocker. I would expect him to see the field in the slot, or at H-B in the red zone for them. I also fully expect him to grab 50-plus balls and find the end zone on a regular basis, as a Rookie. That’s two for two at the top their Draft for the VIKES.

Round 3, Pick 102
5’11/221  4.69/40  PP#NR
This was one of my first moan-out-loud Picks, as I said to myself, ‘what are they thinking?’. Maybe I was unappreciative of his intangible qualities, but I clearly did not see his game translating to the pro level like they did. It might be a bit high for his potential pro career, but he runs hard and tough between the tackles. He can help move the chains on 3rd and short. He is a very good blocker, and he catches the ball well out of the backfield. Not many, if any, guys in their current RB room can say all three of those things. However, that 40-time is not misleading. He is not going to get many double digit gains as a runner. It was too soon for my taste, but clearly what they were looking for. Technically a starter? NOT. But will he get his share of touches by mid-season? Highly likely.

Round 4, Pick 114
6’5/305  5.28/40  PP#161
He is a tall guy, who was part of the best OL unit in college football the last couple of seasons. I have a hunch that he may prove to be a bit too stiff for a starting OL job in the pros, but he might have a chance to stick around for a while as an NFL back-up, both at OG, as well as maybe an emergency RT for a game or two. He looked a bit stiff to me when watching the SOONERS OL in action, but OL Coaches are just going to luv his aggressive attitude and killer instinct. I see his chances being 50/50 as a long term pro. This team will give him a good shot to earn his keep.

Round 5, Pick 162
6’2/238  4.73/40  PP#263
This Pick threw me off a bit, and that 40-time is the alarm that goes off for me. There is no question about his ability as a collegian. It seems as if he has been starting for the TROJANS, like forever. He’s a very smart player, but a bit short on athleticism. He shows some signs of being able to handle limited area pass coverage, but is going to get lost to the outside or deep. He did lose some weight heading into his senior campaign, and it did indeed help him some in coverage. My guess is that he will buy himself time on the roster because his attitude and energy will earn him plenty of time on Special Teams for a couple of seasons, but make no mistake, he ain’t no CHAD GREENWAY. Working in his favor is the fact that the VIKES are not exactly swimming in quality LB depth.

Round 6, Pick 190
6’5/300  5.23/40  PP#273
A long, reasonably athletic DL prospect, who really came into his own last season for RAZORBACKS. In fact, he led the team with 7 sacks, playing inside. Guys who can provide inside pocket pressure have grown in favor with defensive coaches in recent years, since pressure up the middle often disrupts a QB’s comfort level in the pocket. He’s a bit of a long shot, and not a great athlete, but the VIKES DL corps looks thin right now, and some new guys are going to get chances to earn a job. Why not him?

Round 6, Pick 191
6’0/197  4.46/40  PP#NR
Heading into the 2018 college season, SS ANDREW WINGARD was the bigger name player and pro prospect in the COWBOYS secondary, but when scouts started paying visits to the campus in Laramie, EPPS athleticism stole some of the attention. Despite not even being invited to the Combine, EPPS continued to garner attention in April. He was third on the team in tackles, and had 8 PBU’s. His ball skills are a bit questionable, as indicated by his lack of INT’s. His best shot to stick in the short term is, of course, to excel on Special Teams, which the VIKINGS value highly. Lucky for him, S is also not a very deep spot for the team right now.

Round 6, Pick 193
6’5/323  5.06/40  PP#135
This is what I would refer to as a future’s pick, (which doesn’t officially exist in the NFL), and I believe it’s a darn good one. I was able to watch UDOH, up close and personal, at both the Shrine and Senior Bowl venues back in January. He is a massive man-mountain, who more than held his own at both Star games. He played OT most of the time at little ELON, but is more likely to evolve into a road grader OG for the VIKINGS. Call him a future investment, especially if they decide that ELFLEIN is too light in the pants to play OG in the League. What you don’t see above are numbers on his hands, (10″), and arms, (35 3/8″). From what I saw, I just don’t think his feet are nimble or quick enough to play OT against speed edge-rushers, but this is a really good pick to stash a promising young, giant athlete for the future.

Round 7, Pick 217
6’0/201  4.45/40  PP#121
This is a gamble on upside, and it’s in the last Round, so he’s relatively inexpensive. He teases with his ball skills, aggressiveness and athleticism, but he also was a discipline distraction to the TEXAS coaching staff. His man-cover skills were exposed in Mobile, when he was flagged for PI on two straight plays in the first quarter of the Senior Bowl, and could have been easily flagged for a third. Some of his cover issues may be the result of a lack of trust in his own instincts, and borderline actual ball skills, as evidenced by 16 PBU’s, but only 1 INT in 2018 at TEXAS. He has the toughness to handle Special Teams play, but he will likely need to resemble a choir boy in Training Camp to earn a roster spot.

Round 7, Pick 239
6’1/197  4.43/40  PP#186
He came out after his junior season for the DUCKS, during which he had a breakout season, catching 75 balls for 1,184 yards and 10 TD’s. He’s kind of a long looking, thin framed receiver, even thought he weighs just shy of 200 lbs. He’s also kind of a “me” guy, which will not be a big hit in a pro locker room, unless he catches 100 balls right out of the chute. He can dodge and weave his way to open territory, but is often oblivious of the actual route he is supposed to run. Pro QB’s trying to make timing throws are not going to be excited about that, when it leads to INT’s, especially a guy like COUSINS, who has average arm strength. He has 4th Round talent, but his attitude and approach to the game landed him in Round 7.

Round 7, Pick 247
6’1/204  4.50/40  PP#281
He is a good sized wideout with nice receiving tools, including 10 3/8″ hands. He is also a good route runner, who has been second fiddle to some nice wideouts in his time at CSU, named GALLUP and WILLIAMS. The VIKINGS WR group is a bit lacking in proven, quality depth. I also believe that he is more likely to make the team than MITCHELL, as the coaching staff will luv his attitude and effort. It also strikes me that the coaches are about done with TREADWELL, unless he has a really good Training Camp. It all adds up to box checks in the “advantage” JOHNSON column. This is their 3rd receiver in this Draft. Get the picture?!

Round 7, Pick 250
6’3/243  5.16/40  PP#NR
When you have 12 Picks to make, it gets a bit fuzzy at the end. Just joking, sorta. Every team kicks the tires on a LS every few years, even though a quality one can have a 10-year plus pro career. However, the NFL minimum wage gets higher every year, and the VIKES current LS is a 7-year vet. If CUTTING, who measured 9 5/8″ hands and 30 7/8″ arms at AIR FORCE’s Pro Day, can steal the job and replace McDERMOTT as their snapper, then he’ll save the team over a half-million against the Cap in 2019.

Of their 12 Picks, the team drafted 3 OL, 3 receivers, and 2 DB’s, which should present a pretty clear picture of where they were looking for help from this Draft. With that many picks, and the reality that they are unlikely to keep 12 draftees on their September 53-man roster, I would have rather have seen them package 2-3 Picks from Round 4 on, to move up for a late 3rd rounder with more starting potential, but still, it’s a more than adequate draft group, once again, from GM RICK SPIELMAN and his personnel people.