NFC North Rookie Preview: Minnesota Vikings (Defense)

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#90 DE B.J. Dubose (Louisville, 6th round)

Good size (6’4 | 285), motor, and run stopping ability, but has little upside. Dubose isn’t an exciting prospect, but is a solid enough player that he should end up having a decent NFL career. He’s probably not going to make any Pro Bowls, but should be a solid rotational LE who can set the edge vs the run and occasionally get to the QB. Dubose is a nice addition to what is looking like a deep, productive group of DEs for the Vikings. He has polished enough technique and good enough size and strength to contribute right away and should earn one of the last spots on the Vikings final 53-man roster

#40 LB Edmond Robinson (Newberry, 7th round)

Arguably the best LB in DII and proved to be an NFL athlete at the combine with a 4.61 40-time, a 1.61 split, 37″ vertical, and one of the better performances in the on field drills. The jump from DII to the NFL is massive, but Robinson was a dominant LB in college which is what you want to see from a small school guy. He has very long arms (34″) which allow him to keep blockers off him, showed good awareness and play recognition in the run game, and was solid in coverage underneath. Robinson is an intriguing prospect who may need a year or two of development but has starter upside.

I thought Robinson would have been a better fit in a 3-4 scheme, but has the size and athleticism to play the strong side in a 4-3 as well. Robinson could end up on the Vikings practice squad this year, but should eventually back up Anthony Barr on the strong side for the Vikings while contributing on special teams.

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#41 S Anthony Harris (Virginia, UDFA)

Nothing against new Bear Tayo Fabuluje, but when the Bears were on the clock in the 6th round I had my heart set on Harris. I thought Harris and Bears 5th round pick Adrian Amos would have made a great long-term safety combo with both players having the versatility to play either free or strong. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and the Vikings got another steal signing Harris as an undrafted free agent.

Harris has good length (6’1), speed (4.56) and football instincts. He’s strong in coverage with the ability to lock down tight ends and RBs out of the backfield. Harris also has excellent hands and lead the nation with 8 interceptions in 2013 and added on 2 more his senior year. He used his elite instincts to diagnose plays quickly, attack the line of scrimmage and be a factor in the run game with 275 tackles over three seasons as a starter despite his thin frame (183 pounds). Harris’ lack of bulk and strength is really his only weakness that I saw on tape and I think he will develop into a quality starter next to Harrison Smith as soon as 2016. Harris was my #2 ranked undrafted free agent.

#38 CB Justin Coleman (Tennessee, UDFA)

Coleman was my 5th ranked undrafted free agent, so obviously I am pretty high on the Vikings UDFA haul. He was a three year starter for the Vols who has played both outside and in the slot, which will most likely be his position in the pros. Coleman is fluid in coverage, shows good football instincts, and is a willing tackler against the run. The knocks on Coleman from most draft sites were his lack of size (5’11 | 185) and average measurables, but his combine results were well above average (4.53 40-time, 37.5 vertical, and top 5 marks in the bench press, 3-cone drill, 20 & 60 yard shuttles).

Coleman had one of the best overall combine performances by any defensive back and a solid college career, so I’m not sure why he slipped in the draft. I thought he would be no later than a 5th or 6th round pick, but instead the Vikings got another UDFA steal. The additions of Waynes, Harris, and Coleman to talented young players like Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, and Antone Exum could give the Vikings one of the best secondaries in the league in a couple of years. Coleman could push for a starting job in the slot by 2016, while contributing on special teams as a rookie.

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