Since the Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer era began in 2014, the two have been a dynamic duo on draft night. Knocking two consecutive drafts out of the park. The impressive 2014 and 2015 drafts included two Pro-Bowlers in Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater and a fifth-round steal in Stefon Diggs. What makes the duo special is that they set out a list of traits they look for in prospects and they always stay true to their beliefs.

Analyzing their drafts since 2014, the three traits that they look for in draft prospects are

  1. high character
  2. leaders
  3. athletic prospects with high upside with proper coaching.

[graphiq id=”93bkgE5DpaZ” title=”Most Represented Colleges on the Minnesota Vikings Roster” width=”600″ height=”545″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/93bkgE5DpaZ” link=”http://nfl-teams.pointafter.com/l/14/Minnesota-Vikings” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

The devastating injury to QB Teddy Bridgewater sent shock-waves throughout the NFL community, but the Vikings brass hit the ground running, sending a 2017 first round, and a conditional 2018 fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford. This deal altered the Vikings future, including the flexibility they have in the 2017 NFL draft. With that being said, it’s never too early to predict what the Vikings will do.

Biggest Needs:

  1. Offensive Line
  2. Running Back
  3. Defensive Tackle

2017 Picks: 

  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 3rd (via Miami Dolphins)
  • 4th
  • 4th (compensatory/conditional pick via Miami Dolphins)
  • 5th
  • 6th
  • 7th

Pitt OL Bisnowaty Is A Big Brother, Mentor, And Role ModelRound 2: OT/Adam Bisnowaty — Pittsburgh

In what seems almost a guarantee, the Vikings are going to draft offensive lineman early and often during the 2017 NFL draft. After trading their first round pick for Sam Bradford the Vikings first pick will come on the second day of the draft, barring a trade to move up.

Rick Spielman elects to attack the team’s biggest weakness immediately, selecting the University of Pittsburgh offensive tackle. Bisnowaty is a solid selection in the latter half of the second round. He currently is projected to go in the late second-to-early third round range.

With 2012 first-round selection Matt Kalil coming off hip surgery, and scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, combined with Andre Smith looking like a one-and-done year with the Vikings, the team desperately needs fresh legs on the edge of the offensive line. With an offensive tackle class that’s as weak as the 2017 class is, there isn’t a “plug and play” tackle that the Vikings can find that will immediately solve their offensive tackle woes. Bisnowaty provides immediate depth because he isn’t ready to play from day-one. He’s a very promising prospect, but his footwork, strength and technique need work.


Image result for forrest lamp western kentuckyRound 3: G/Forrest Lamp — Western Kentucky

A prospect that is vastly under-rated, Lamp has consistently put together impressive game film in his career. In 2016, his biggest test came against the talented Alabama defensive line. Matching up against top prospects in Ryan Anderson, Jonathan Allen, and Tim Williams, Lamp held his own. The Hilltopper offensive tackle allowed only one QB hit (Pro Football Focus).

Lamp projects best as a guard at the next level, not having ideal size (6’3″, 300) or footwork to be a consistent starter at tackle. With his wide frame, and nastiness in both phases (run and pass), he is an ideal interior lineman in the NFL. My comparison for Lamp was another small-school offensive lineman in Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet. The Buccaneers guard came from a significantly smaller school (Hobart University) than Lamp, but their rise during draft season could be identical.

The First-Team All-Conference USA selection is a perfect fit for the Vikings. Since signing a four-year, $25 million extension in 2014, starting right guard Brandon Fusco has struggled. With his inconsistencies still continuing this season, the franchise must prepare for life after Fusco. Lamp provides immediate depth either route the team decides with Fusco.


Image result for wayne gallman

Round 3 (via Miami Dolphins): RB/Wayne Gallman — Clemson

My love for Wayne Gallman is well evident on my Twitter page (@JReidDraftScout), and his fit on the Vikings is even greater. Already possessing a smaller, shifty rusher in Jerick McKinnon, and a reliable third RB in Matt Asiata, the team now needs another compliment to McKinnon. Preferably a well-rounded runner, that can take some of the punishment between the tackles that McKinnon necessarily can’t handle.

Gallman has everything that you want in an NFL running back. Speed, vision, ability to catch it out of the backfield, and he’s nasty in pass protection. This is what makes me the captain of the Gallman ship. He is the modern day NFL rusher. Another under-rated aspect of the Clemson rushers game is how under-utilitized he’s become. An offensive attack led by future first-round prospects in signal-caller Deshaun Watson and receiver Mike Williams, the 2015 All-ACC selection sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

Gallman is a prospect that can be drafted as early as the second-round, but his target draft range is currently mid-to-late third round.


Image result for jaleel johnson iowaRound 4: DT/Jaleel Johnson — Iowa

Something that has not been mentioned this season is that how thin the teams interior defensive front currently is. The obvious standout in the interior is nose tackle Linval Joseph. With Tom Johnson getting older (32) and 2013 first-round selection Sharrif Floyd coming off another knee surgery, all that is left is Shamar Stephen, who is a rotational guy at best. With Johnson entering a contract year in 2017, and the status of Floyd still being up in the air, the team decides elects to address their weakness at defensive tackle.

Jaleel Johnson is a prospect that has quietly risen up draft boards since September. Still a relatively unknown to major draft media, the Hawkeye interior defensive lineman struggled early on the season. Since a crushing 23-21 loss to FCS opponent North Dakota State, the senior is dominating this season. Johnson has drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels. His power and explosion for a prospect that is 6’3″, 310 pounds is impressive. Johnson has an unbelievable motor. His relentless effort allows him to clog holes against the run and enables him to collapse the pocket against the pass.


Image result for jalen reeves maybinRound 4 (via Miami Dolphins): LB/Jalen Reeves-Maybin — Tennessee

With 2016 expected to be Chad Greenway’s last season, the team lacks an answer as to who the immediate replacement will be. Emmanuel Lamur only signed a two-year deal and hasn’t seen much action this season. The franchise must look for a long-term solution to its outside linebacker spot.

Reeves-Maybin has had a rough 2016 season. Coming into the year, the Volunteers team captain was projected as a late first-to-early second round pick. His season came to a quick end with a season-ending shoulder injury that led to him getting surgery. Battling injuries, the talented defenders stock has plummeted.

Despite his struggles and injuries, Reeves-Maybin possesses all the traits of a Mike Zimmer outside linebacker. While he lacks ideal size (6’0″, 225), his speed and instincts is what will enable him to be a three down LB in the NFL. He’s inconsistent at times in run support, but his speed and agility allows him to cover receivers, running backs and tight ends. In a league that’s become very pass-happy, Reeves-Maybin will have a role.


Image result for jonah pirsigRound 5: OT/Jonah Pirsig — Minnesota

The Vikings continue to address their weakness at offensive tackle. The team still lacks depth at both tackle spots. Already drafting Adam Bisnowaty and with Forrest Lamp most likely best suited as a guard, that leaves the team with Sirles, Bisnowaty, and T.J. Clemmings as the tackles on their roster.

I think they should take another tackle to not only create competition, but also insurance. You can never have too many offensive lineman. That’s well evident this season as the team lost Matt Kalil and Andre Smith to season-ending injuries. With Kalil and Smith possibly not being with the Vikings in 2017, they elect to draft homegrown talent in Pirsig.

Pirsig is the definition of a developmental right tackle. He’s battled injuries in 2016, but when the Golden Gopher blocker was on the field, he has been very reliable. Labeled as “the rock” of the Minnesota offensive line, Pirsig fills the void of a offensive lineman that the Vikings can draft and develop. It is well evident that the team does that, as they have done with Zach Kerin, and Jeremiah Sirles.


Image result for Tanoh KpassagnonRound 6: DE/Tanoh Kpassagnon — Villanova

A big, strong, and lengthy athlete, Kpassagnon is the similar mold as 2015 third-round selection Danielle Hunter. Kpassagnon (18.5 sacks) has had a more productive college career compared to Hunter (4.0 sacks), but their playing styles are similar. Both were talented, but raw pass rushers and huge projects. Kpassagnon (6’6″, 275) is heavier than Hunter (6’5″, 255), but both pose similar threats.

Scouting reports for both will look identical. The Villanova defenders play is up and down because he doesn’t have the ability to consistently use his hands. This is evident on film as he struggles when teams run at him. He doesn’t use his size. Kpassagnon will have one of the most impressive body frames in the country, but he just hasn’t developed the proper technique to consistently use it.

Drawing early comparisons to Cincinnati Bengals DE Michael Johnson, Kpassagnon is a name that will rise as we get closer to April as he’s one of the best FCS players in the nation.


Image result for demetrious cox michigan stateRound 7: FS/Demetrius Cox — Michigan State

A position that has seemed to be a revolving door, Andrew Sendejo has quietly put together a solid 2016 season. After signing a four-year, $16 million extension in the off-season, many critics were skeptical, but to this point he has proved those critics wrong. The depth after Harrison Smith and Sendejo is questionable. Jayron Kearse has showed there will be bumps in the road with a seventh-round rookie, and Anthony Harris has shown flashes of potential, but has battled injuries throughout his career.

The team must address their lack of depth at the safety spot. Demetrius Cox has many traits that is required of Zimmer. One trait that Vikings safeties must be able to do is play man-to-man coverage in the slot against tight ends and receivers. Being a former cornerback, Cox already has experience in that aspect. The fifth-year senior and team captain is the leader of the Michigan State defense. Not having a clearly defined position in his time as a Spartan will make scouts question Cox, making him prime candidate as a late-round pick.


For more NFL Draft news and analysis, follow Jordan Reid on Twitter @JReidDraftScout.

About the Labor: Episode 20 – Lions Pregame (feat. Ted Glover)


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