After a 13-3 season and a #2 seed in the NFC in 2017, the Vikings took a significant step back in 2018, missing the playoffs. They have obvious needs, ones that can be addressed in the draft.
The Minnesota Vikings just signed Kirk Cousins to a lucrative contract to be their franchise quarterback, he is not going anywhere. Dalvin Cook was drafted to be their running back of the future and he sure looks the part. They also have Ameer Abdullah to back him up, which may be a role that better suits him after a failed attempt at a lead role in Detroit. The offensive line ranked 23rd in run blocking but 9th in pass protection, they could use some upgrades there.
Kyle Rudolph is regularly a top 10 tight end and should continue to be so. Behind him though there is not much depth and could use an upgrade at the position. The Vikings employ two of the best route runners in the business in Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen. Behind them, though, is Laquon Treadwell who has under-performed since being a first round selection.
The defensive line is getting old. Linval Joseph is their top defensive tackle and is 30 years old and a nine year veteran. This should be a top area of concern to address in the draft. Danielle Hunter is a stud defensive end and will be for years but his counterpart is aging and unstable Everson Griffen. Griffen missed time due to his mental health last season. The team re-signed Anthony Barr this season after almost losing him to the Jets. They also employ Eric Kendricks who is a very solid linebacker but the team could use the addition or a rangy weak side linebacker.
The secondary is pretty solid for this squad. At corner they employ Xavier Rhodes who has proven to be a lock down type corner. The past two drafts the Vikings drafted Trae Waynes and Mike Hughes to be their number two and slot corners and both preformed well. Harrison Smith has been one of the best and most versatile safeties in the league since he entered the league. Anthony Harris played incredibly well as a replacement last season, well enough to be the incumbent starter for 2019. The Vikings should add a little depth to this position though.
Trade: Vikings receive Round 1 Pick #29, Round 2 Pick #61, and a 2020 3rd Round Pick
Chiefs receive Round 1 Pick #18- Select A.J. Brown, Wide Receiver- Ole Miss
Round 1, Pick #29 Greg Little, Offensive Tackle- Ole Miss
Little was the man that I had the Vikings selecting at #18 overall but the Chiefs were needy at wide receiver with a possible suspension looming over Tyreek Hill. Little is coming off of a first team All-Conference selection at tackle out of the SEC in 2018. He carries a great combination of size, speed and athleticism which allows for great bend in his lower body on the outside rush. Little also has nimble feet that allow him to kick out and pull for outside zone schemes. He can probably come in as a week one starter.
Round 2, Pick #50 Gerald Willis III, Defensive Tackle- Miami (FL)
Willis had a rough go of it during his college career. He was highly recruited as a high school All-American and signed with the Florda Gators. After a Freshman year mostly on the bench he was dismissed from the team for getting into an altercation with the team’s quarterback.
He transferred to Miami to play in a reserve role during his next season only to take a leave of absence in 2017 for personal issues. The break looked to be what he needed as he totaled 59 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and four sacks as it finally all came together. Willis can play next to Joseph and be a true driving force in the middle for the Vikings.
Round 2, Pick #61 Chase Winovich, Edge- Michigan
Winovich may not be the most explosive athlete on the field but he plays with an unmatched motor. He never takes plays off and never seems to get tired. Winovich physically wears down his opponents with his relentlessness and toughness and has positional versatility with his size.
In two years as a full time starter he totaled 132 tackles, 34.5 for a loss, and 13.5 sacks. He can play either 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. With the Vikings, he can play early in his career as a pure situational pass rusher and eventual successor to Everson Griffen.
Round 3, Pick #82 Drue Tranquill, Linebacker- Notre Dame
Drue Tranquill is a safety that has made the conversion to linebacker. Here is another player with an elite motor not matched by many. Though his man skills are not the greatest he has the athleticism to hold up with tight ends in coverage. He uses a strong jam on tight ends to throw them off their routes at the snap.
In his two seasons as a linebacker he totaled 171 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, seven passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries. Tranquill played his best football during the college football playoffs this season showing he does not shy from the spotlight.
Round 4, Pick #121 Justice Hill, Running Back- Oklahoma St.
Justice Hill is a smaller running back but a very exciting and elusive back. Hill was underused as a receiver in college as his hand are actually quite good. This, along with his ability in space is something that should be intriguing to the Vikings. Dalvin Cook looked healthy last year after returning from his ACL surgery.
We all know, after seeing Todd Gurley this year, that knee injuries can lead to tendinitis leading to less of a workload. Ameer Abdullah may be best suited for special teams duties and adding somebody who can take on a heavy load in case of a Cook injury would be a smart idea.
Round 6, Pick #192 Greg Dortch, Wide Receiver- Wake Forest
Greg Dortch has diminutive size at 5’7 and 173 Lbs. but he may be the toughest guy on the field every time he is on it. During a game in 2017 against Louisville he finished out a game after puncturing his lower intestine. Dortch was responsible for almost 40% of his team’s receiving stats while he suited up for them.
He has great short area quickness, and sure hands, proving to be a short route target and chain mover the Vikings are looking for. All Dortch needs to do is work on his routes to create a little more separation and he will be a starter in the slot.
Round 6, Pick #211 Delvon Randall, Safety- Temple
Randall is a versatile safety that can play either safety position. He has good size, 6’1 and 215 Lbs., that allows him to play in the box when needed. His tackling angles are excellent and he is generally a sure tackler. Ball skills are a trait he possesses as well. With 12 career interceptions, 4 in each season as a starter, he has proven to be solid in coverage as he has come up with some real highlight interceptions.
Randall has also been known as a locker room presence and vocal leader to his team. Every team would like to add a player like that to their team and he can challenge Anthony Harris right away for the starting job.
Round 7, Pick #249 Hjalte Froholdt, Offensive Guard- Arkansas
Froholdt is a former Denmark foreign exchange student that was a defensive lineman in high school and his first year of college. He transitioned to the offensive line starting 13 games in 2016 and another 12 in 2017 at left guard. During those games he never gave up a sack and only accrued two penalties. He can play either guard spot and even center in a pinch.
He has a very low center of gravity and strong core to create great balance through contact. His path to linebackers in the second level is very good as well. Froholdt is strong in the run game, something the Vikings lacked. One injury and he can be a starter but should undoubtedly make the roster.
Round 7, Pick #252 Dax Raymond, Tight End- Utah St.
Dax Raymond is actually one of the more polished tight end prospects in this draft. He runs solid routes and has good hands with a great catch radius. Raymond can be used as a solid red zone target for Kirk Cousins and back up to Kyle Rudolph. He has good lower body strength being able to run through arm tackles and gain extra yards. The down side to Raymond is his age as he is one of the older players in the draft and does not possess elite athleticism. He would fill in nicely as a backup.
The Vikings make a lot of great selections in this draft to address their needs. They take advantage of the needy Chiefs and trade back to still select their guy in Greg Little. With the first of their second round picks they select Gerald Willis III, a beast in the middle on defense from Miami. The second selection in the second round was used on highly productive edge rusher Chase Winovich out of Michigan to be the eventual successor to Everson Griffen.
In the third round they draft what could be their new weak side linebacker in Drue Tranquill out of Notre Dame. With their fourth round selection they grab change of pace back and Dalvin Cook insurance by picking Justice Hill. In the sixth round the Vikings grab a much needed number three receiver in slot man Greg Dortch out of Wake Forest.
With the team’s second pick in the sixth they grab Delvon Randall, a versatile safety from Temple. They round out the draft grabbing Hjalte Froholdt, a former exchange student turned defensive lineman, turned offensive lineman. Froholdt has little experience but is high on talent and could make a push for the starting lineup. With the last pick they grab Dax Ramond, a sure handed tight end out of Utah St. to add to their tight end depth.
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