Know Your Opponent: Evaluating Minnesota Vikings draft
Who did the Minnesota Vikings draft?
While this is a Chicago Bears site, they do play the NFC North twice per year. With that in mind, who their opponents draft will help shape some of the more important rivalries moving forward, and will help guide the type of team that Chicago will build around.
After breaking down the Packers, and Lions in previous posts, we now move to the Minnesota Vikings. After falling a game short of the playoffs last year, how did Minnesota improve their roster?
No. 18 overall | Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State
The Vikings offensive line has held them back for years on end, and finally, it feels as though they have addressed it. With Bradbury, the Vikings did not add a flashy player but added an instant starter with the ability to be a high-end starter for years. Bradbury was a great fit, and pick who will drive Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks crazy for years to come.
No. 50 overall |Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
Smith is an interesting pick because he was used in a variety of ways at Alabama, similar to Trey Burton. He is a more refined blocker, which will help him get on the field early. Still, while he is more versatile than Kyle Rudolph, you have to wonder what this means for Rudolph, who looks pretty expendable. Considering the team has Tyler Conklin and David Morgan, Rudolph is extremely expendable.
No. 102 overall | Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State
Many saw this as a reach for Mattison. However, if you followed us pre-draft, you would know that he was one of the more underrated backs. You have to wonder if Chicago would have considered him if they stayed at 87 and did not move up for David Montgomery.
Still, the Bears had to trade up for Montgomery who is more versatile overall than Mattison. Mattison is a punishing runner with better hands than expected. He will easily fill in the Latavius Murray role.
No. 114 overall | Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma
The Vikings drafted a center, guard, blocking tight end and power running back. What do you think their identity is? With their big money quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Vikings best bet to win is to run the ball down teams throats, and at this value, Samia is an excellent find.
No. 162 overall | Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Smith is the ultimate try-hard player who plays every down like his last. His speed and tackling will get him on special teams as he checks in behind Ben Gedeon on the depth chart.
No. 190 overall | Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas
To continue their running theme, the defense gets a jolt with a plugging run stuffer in the middle. A year behind Linvall Joseph will do him wonders.
No. 191 overall | Marcus Epps, DB, Wyoming
Epps is a physical safety who can play special teams. After seeing Anthony Harris step into a starter role, they can see Epps follow a similar path.
No. 193 overall | Olisaemeka Udoh, T, Elon
The Vikings loaded up on offensive line help. Even if Udoh is just depth, it is a smart pick considering their needs.
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No. 217 overall | Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
Boyd played on the outside at Texas and struggled with bigger and more athletic receivers. A move into the nickel or dime role may do him better in the NFL. It is worth noting the Bears took Duke Shelley before Boyd and worked out Boyd pre-draft.
No. 239 overall |Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon
Mitchell has a lot of natural skill but has been questioned by coaches among others for his desire and work ethic. Can Minnesota get the most of him, and is Emanuel Hall a better option?
No. 247 overall|Olabisi Johnson, WR, Colorado St.
Mitchell is a raw athlete with potential. Johnson is a well-refined player with limited upside. Between the two they can certainly find some depth in their pass catchers.
No. 250 overall (compensatory) | Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force
With this many picks, the team added their favorite long snapper
The players can be hits or misses, but the evaluation has to be done based on the decision making process. Compared to Detroit, where they reached for scheme fits, and Green Bay, where they seemed to reach in general, this was the most level-headed draft. They know their identity and every pick was a smart move to play into it.
With Detroit and Minnesota preaching a power offense with running features, it is clear that Chicago better get ready to defend the run.