Grading the Draft: Minnesota Vikings

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The Vikings entered the draft not owning a pick in the first round thanks to the Sam Bradford trade one year ago. They still had eight picks in total and hoped to fortify the middle of their defense while adding a few offensive weapons.

2(9)

Dalvin Cook

RB

Florida State

3(6)

Pat Elflein

C

Ohio State

4(2)

Jaleel Johnson

DT

Iowa

4(14)

Ben Gedeon

ILB

Michigan

5(27)

Rodney Adams

WR

South Florida

5(37)

Danny Isidora

OG

Miami (FL)

6(17)

Bucky Hodges

TE

Virginia Tech

7(1)

Stacy Coley

WR

Miami (FL)

7(2)

Ifeadi Odenigbo

DE

Northwestern

7(14)

Elijah Lee

OLB

Kansas State

7(27)

Jack Tocho

CB

North Carolina State

UDFA Signings: Dylan Bradley, DL, Southern Mississippi; Aviante Collins, OL, TCU; Wes Lunt, QB, Illinois; Eric Wilson, LB, Cincinnati; Nick Fett, OL, Iowa State; Sam McCaskill, DE, Boise State; Tashawn Bower DE/OLB, LSU; Shaan Washington, LB, Texas A&M; Caleb Kidder, DE, Montana; Terrell Newby, RB, Nebraska; Josiah Price, TE, Michigan State; Horace Richardson, CB, SMU; R.J. Shelton, WR, Michigan State  Links Lead to Player Scouting Reports

There was a lot of conjecture as to where Dalvin Cook would land in the lead-up to the draft. As we reported in the middle of April, everything pointed to the running back falling into the second round, where the Vikings eventually scooped him up.

Cook is a terrific back with an array of skills as a ball carrier on the inside, around the corner or as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He has the skills to develop into the feature runner the Vikings need. His injury history, off-field issues and poor predraft workouts all lent a hand in Cook falling down boards, and they are all obstacles to his next-level success.

Early in his Buckeyes career, Pat Elflein looked like the next dominant offensive line prospect from the Ohio State program. His game leveled off a bit the past two years and Elflein took a backseat to some of the better talent on the OSU line, but he has all the tools to be a steady starter on Sundays at either guard or center.

Fourth-round selection Jaleel Johnson went right about where we projected him. He's an athletic defensive tackle with size as well as growth potential. He’s more of a penetrator than a stout, hold-the-point type of tackle, but if Johnson improves his playing strength and starts playing to his size he'll have a long starting career in the NFL.

Ben Gedeon was the third consecutive Big Ten prospect drafted by the Vikings. He's a smart, tough inside linebacker but is more of a two-down defender with limitations in coverage.

Rodney Adams made a late move up draft boards as he offered something few at the receiver position possessed in 2017 -- speed.  He's a thinly built wideout who can line up in the slot or out on the flanks. Although he’s not a true deep threat, Adams has the ability to win out in foot races.

The team’s other fifth-rounder, Danny Isidora, was a solid selection. Isidora is a hard-working lineman who gets everything from his ability. I envision him as a backup in the league for a long time.

Bucky Hodges could be a major steal if he's coached correctly and is willing to put in the work. Hodges was a productive receiver for Virginia Tech but comes with tight end size and competed like a tight end for the difficult reception. He needs to improve his consistency and must learn to block, but Hodges has the underlying ability to initially line up as a move tight end and eventually develop into an every-down player at the position.

At one point during the 2016 season scouts graded Stacey Coley as a potential second-day pick, but inconsistent play, a lack of toughness and what seemed like an unwillingness to compete dropped him into the last round. Coley has the tools necessary to line up as a slot receiver and develop into a third wideout on the depth chart. This assumes he picks up the all-around intensity of his game. If he doesn't, Coley will bounce from team to team without having much impact.

Ifeadi Odenigbo was an interesting selection and someone I was glad to see selected in the draft. Graded as a marginal street free agent before the season, Odenigbo showed flashes of ability as a pass rusher during his Northwestern career. If he has a good camp, he could make a roster as a designated pass rusher.

I was ecstatic Elijah Lee was selected in the draft and felt it was well-deserved. Our No.1 combine snub, Lee is a smaller run-and-chase linebacker with poor size and speed numbers, but for two years running all he did was make plays on the football field. He's a nickel linebacker who'll have to impress this summer on special teams.

Cornerback Jack Tocho is sized well but has an inconsistent game. He struggles to make plays with his back to the ball but would be effective in a zone system. Like the Vikings’ other three selections in the final round, he will end up on a roster somewhere in the league.

Several players signed by the Vikings after the draft will end up on a practice squad. Eric Wilson was graded as a middle-round choice entering his senior season but fell through the cracks. Like the aforementioned Lee, he's a small run-and-chase linebacker -- though Wilson is much faster than Lee. Caleb Kidder is more of a 3-4 outside linebacker but could develop into a designated pass rusher in the Vikings’ scheme. Shann Washington is a two-down defender but is very underrated stopping the run.

Analysis: People often downgrade a draft if it didn't include a first-round choice, but I prefer to look at the entire body of work. I believe the Vikings’ first three picks could develop into starters, they selected developmental prospects in the middle rounds and their late-round picks can all contribute to the roster. There may be no stars in this draft, but I see a lot of production coming from the group. Grade: B+