Minnesota Vikings Draft Picks to Lead to an At-Home Super Bowl?


D.J. Lein

For Vikings’ fans, the 82nd annual NFL Draft provided optimism as their team selected 11 collegiate athletes. Image Credit: DJ Lein, Flickr

Minnesota Vikings Draft Picks to Lead to an At-Home Super Bowl? 

Minnesota Vikings Draft Recap and Commentary

By Dylan Schroeder
Staff Writer

The 2017 NFL Draft has came and gone, and your Minnesota Vikings made eleven selections. Yes, ELEVEN.

Not every player who was drafted will make the Vikings’ roster, but there is expected to be some talent that can be found after a dismal 8-8 finish to the 2016 season.

Fans can’t help themselves from dreaming of a year in which they can covet the Vince Lombardi trophy in their own backyard, as Super Bowl 52 will take place in Minneapolis.

 2017 is a new chapter that will hopefully come with new opportunity, fewer injuries, and a potential that has kicked off with the NFL Draft.

Minnesota Vikings Selections:

Dalvin Cook – Running Back – Florida State

Pick: Round 2, Pick 9, 41 Overall

Height: 5-10              Weight: 210

Cook is a talented running back who has been on the national scene for a couple of seasons at Florida State, displaying his skills against some of the best teams in the country. Cook’s big play potential combined with his excellent strength and speed gives him an excellent opportunity to become the heir to Adrian Peterson’s throne.

What makes Cook such a valuable asset is that he can do multiple things as a running back that we haven’t seen in Minnesota for a while – ability to catch the football out of the backfield, line up in the slot, run the ball out of shotgun, along with being a traditional Minnesota power-back.

The Florida State talent was acquired via trade on the second day of the draft. The Vikings gave up picks 48 and 128 in exchange for the Cincinnati Bengals 41st overall selection to draft Cook.

In the eyes of fans, the draft is only the first step for the Vikings long-awaited run at the 2018 Super Bowl inside US Bank Stadium. Image Credit: Greg Gjerdingen, Flickr

Pat Elflein – Center – Ohio State

Pick: Round 3, Pick 6, 70 Overall

Height: 6-3                 Weight: 303

Elflein is an experienced, versatile offensive lineman as he has played each of the interior line positions over his time at Ohio State. Elflein will bring intelligence and strong blocking to one of the biggest positional needs on the Vikings roster.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Minnesota Vikings finished dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt, rushing yards per game, and gave up the 10th most sacks across the league.

Even if Pat Elflein doesn’t become a perennial Pro-Bowler, his ability to play multiple positions will be a key to recharging the Vike’s offensive line.

Elflein was also acquired via trade by flipping picks 79 and 160 to the New York Jets for the 70th overall selection. 

Jaleel Johnson – Defensive Tackle – Iowa

Pick: Round 4, Pick 2, 109 Overall

Height: 6-3                 Weight: 316

After the injury concerns last season to current defensive tackle, Shariff Floyd, Johnson was brought in to tie up lose ends at the defensive tackle position. Johnson is a run-stopper who played with great energy while he was at Iowa.

Many fans — including ARCC student Austin Youngmark – felt as if Johnson was a reach in the third round with other positional needs available.

“Johnson was probably the pick I disliked the most because in my opinion we didn’t need to address defensive tackle that early in the draft. He has potential to feel a need, but I thought we could’ve attacked that position in the later rounds of the draft.”

The least that Johnson will do is add athletic depth to one of the NFL’s strongest defenses.

Ben Gedeon – Linebacker – Michigan

Pick: Round 4, Pick 14, 120 Overall

Height: 6-2                 Weight: 244

The Minnesota Vikings have one of the strongest linebacker cores in the entire National Football League. With that being said, the Michigan product can add depth and versatility to a position that lost a franchise all-timer in Chad Greenway.

Scouts on NFL.com believe his “lack of speed and short area quickness could be picked on at the next level.”

Gedeon might not get a chance on the defensive side of the ball early into his rookie season, but he will be a great addition for the special teams as he works for his chance to be slotted into the rotation of tacklers.

ARCC student Tyler Rousu was worried about taking Gedeon because of his lack of experience at the collegiate level.

“We need depth at the linebacker position, which we got with Lee near the end [of the draft], and he has more experience. Gedeon didn’t start until he was a senior! However, he is good on special teams so maybe there is an upside [to the pick].”

For Vikings’ fans, the 82nd annual NFL Draft provided optimism as their team selected 11 collegiate athletes. Image Credit: DJ Lein, Flickr

Rodney Adams – Wide Receiver – South Florida

Pick: Round 5, Pick 27, 170 Overall

Height: 6-1                 Weight: 189

After taking a receiver in the first round of last year’s draft, Laquon Treadwell didn’t see the field much in his rookie season. As a result, a couple of receivers were drafted this year, hoping to boost a depleted receiving core.

One of those receivers was South Florida’s Rodney Adams.

Adams is an explosive athlete who makes plays with the football in his hands, but he has trouble fumbling and running consistent routes. There is potential for the speedster to stretch the field vertically as a deep ball guy. That being said, Adams can make an immediate impact as a kick returner.

Danny Isidora – Guard – Miami

Pick: Round 5, Pick 37, 180 Overall

Height: 6-3                Weight: 306

Isidora is another offensive lineman who has the potential to help out a very poor Vikings’ offensive line.

Isidora has excellent athleticism and size for a player of his position. His ability to get out and move is essential for a Vikings offense that will want their guards to get out and block in space.

Concerns on his ability to handle power rushes are likely the reason for Isidora falling late into the fifth round of the draft. The upside of the pick will at least bring in another body to fight for a starting gig on the roster.

Bucky Hodges – Tight End – Virginia Tech

Pick: Round 6, Pick 17, 201 Overall

Height: 6-6                 Weight: 257

For a team looking to improve at the receiver position, adding talent to the tight end position was an excellent idea of Vikings’ General Manager, Rick Spielman.

Hodges creates great potential with his un-coachable size and strength. At 6’6”, Hodges is a matchup problem for all linebackers and safeties of the NFL. Pairing Hodges with current Vikings’ tight end, Kyle Rudolph, makes for an interesting duo that can only be replicated by a few teams throughout the NFL.

When asked who the most interesting selection from the draft was, Youngmark believed it was Hodges.

“Obviously we have a great starting tight end [in Kyle Rudolph], but Hodges isn’t known for blocking, more for receiving. It will be interesting to see how they use both of them on the field together in double tight end packages.”

While making his adjustments to the NFL level, look for Hodges to make early impacts inside the red zone.

Stacy Coley – Wide Receiver – Miami

Pick: Round 7, Pick 1, 219 Overall

Height: 6-0                 Weight: 195

The other receiver selected in the draft was Miami’s Stacy Coley. He brings a great burst to the offense with his unprecedented speed and athleticism.

Coley certainly has his question marks, but taking a chance on a player with his caliber of athleticism makes a lot of sense in the final round of the draft.

If there is an opportunity for Coley to make this roster it will most likely be deep in the rotation as a slot receiver who has ability to hit the homerun play.

Ifeadi Odbenigbo – Defensive End – Notherwestern

Pick: Round 7, Pick 2, 220 Overall

Height: 6-3                 Weight: 258

Odbenigbo is a guy who was strictly taken for his ability to pressure the opposing team’s quarterback.

While Pro Football Reference has the Vikings tallied for the fifth most sacks in the league last season, Odbenigbo brings more versatility to a skill that is wanted more than ever in the history of the league.

Elijah Lee – Linebacker – Kansas State

Pick: Round 7, Pick 14, 232 Overall

Height: 6-3                 Weight: 228

Lee was a very productive player at Kansas State as he proved to be one of the better coverage linebackers in college football. However, his tackling is very suspect, and needs to learn better technique if he wants to make an impact at the next level, passing downs or not.

His athleticism and speed has the ability to make an impact with the Vikings. But until he improves, he’ll be a special teams enforcer.

Jack Tocho – Cornerback – North Carolina State

Pick: Round 7, Pick 27, 245 Overall

Height: 6-0                 Weight: 202

Tocho has the tools that are typically attractive to Vikings’ head coach, Mike Zimmer. His length, size and physicality as a press corner could make an impact in the secondary.

Tocho likely slid to the 7th round because he is a little slow for the NFL level as he only ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. However, great football instincts and intelligence can make up for his slow breaks as he does a terrific job of reading opposing wide receivers.

A strong work ethic and confidence in who he is can really push Tocho further than his speed can take him.

While it’s a long shot for Tocho, his unique skillset might find a way into the Vikings puzzle before September.