The Minnesota Vikings did not make the NFC Playoffs last season because the organization decided to put their offense in the hands of a man that has a losing record for his career. Although the Vikings ended up 8-7-1 last season, optimism remains because the coaches finally figured out halfway during last season that the offense must be run-oriented. Let’s take a look at their picks from the NFL Draft to see if Minnesota is really committed to the rushing game.
Round 1, Pick 18: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State. 6’3″, 306 lbs. Bradbury was the best center in the draft. This pick is critical to the offense because his decision-making at the line will now take a few more decisions away from being made by QB Kirk Cousins. This pick is absolutely necessary for the Vikings.
Round 2, Pick 18: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama. 6’2″, 242 lbs. To have a run-oriented offense, you need at least two competent tight ends on the roster. Last season, the Vikings only had one. Now with Smith, the Vikings will be able to run their offense with optimal efficiency.
Round 3, Pick 39: Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State. 5’11”, 221 lbs. Mattison will compete for the third RB spot on the roster. This spot is important because a run-oriented offense needs 3 solid RB’s for it to work.
Round 4, Pick 12: Dru Samla, G, Oklahoma. 6’5″, 305 lbs. Minnesota looks to build offensive line depth with the pick of Samla. In college, he played at tackle and at guard so his versatility will keep their blocking effective throughout the season.
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Round 5, Pick 24: Cameron Smith, LB, USC. 6’2″, 238 lbs. Smith will add depth to the inside linebacking corps for the Vikings.
Round 6, Pick 18: Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas. 6’5″, 300 lbs. A run-oriented offense must be able to stop the run as well. Watts will add interior line depth to one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the NFL.
Round 6, Pick 19: Marcus Epps, S, Wyoming. 6’0, 191 lbs. He has the versatility to play either safety spot, but will have to fight for his spot.
Round 6, Pick 21: Oli Udoh, T, Elon. 6’5″, 323 lbs. He will either add offensive line depth or will be able to develop on the practice squad.
Round 7, Pick 3: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas. 5’11”, 201 lbs. Adding secondary depth never hurts. He is very strong at breaking up passes so he has a shot at making the roster.
Round 7, Pick 25: Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon. 6’1″, 197 lbs. More than likely, he has a chance to make the practice squad because being under 200 pounds in the NFL is not a good idea.
Round 7, Pick 33: Bisi Johnson, WR, Colorado State. 6’0″, 204 lbs. Basically, Mitchell and Johnson will be fighting for a spot on the roster due to both being possession receivers.
Round 7, Pick 36: Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force. 6’3″, 245 lbs. Cutting will compete for a spot at the long snapper position.
Draft Grade: The Vikings were loaded with picks, but they used every pick with purpose. I am impressed with how they drafted. I give them an A+.
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