Now that we’re through the second day of the NFL draft and the Vikings are finally on the board its time to give a quick assessment on how the night unfolded. Of course you can’t truly assess rookies until they have time to acclimate to the NFL game but we can at least talk about the pick value and how each player fits the MN Vikings.
The Vikings started the evening with seven draft picks to their name: 2(48), 3(79), 3(86), 4(120), 4(128), 5(160), 6(199), 7(232)
2(41): The Vikings started the night by moving up 7 spots with the Cincinnati Bengals. The cost to move up was only the Vikings 4th round pick #128, which is positive value in the Vikings favor using most trade charts. Being able to preserve both thirst round selections and their first fourth round selection #120 was the key to getting this deal done.
Dalvin Cook (RB Florida State): Although Cook does boast a few medical and off-field concerns it was presumed the Florida State rusher would go off the board early in the 2nd round. As the board began to fall the Vikings were able to take a 1st round talent with their second round selection. On the field Cook is a versatile piece who is electric with the ball in his hands. From a personnel perspective, Cook likes to run out of 11 personnel which meshes with the offense Shurmur intends in install this off-season (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR spread out). As a runner he can take the ball out of the gun, piston, or I-formation. With a zone (spread) blocking scheme in front of him, Cook is able to read his blocks and work down hill to apply pressure before hitting the hole. When running through garbage he has a good knack for cutting it back and take what is given to him. In the open field Cook’s biggest attribute is being able to make subtle jab’s and juke’s at full speed. This changes the tackling angle for DB’s/LB’s and his balance allows him to run through arm tackles and defenders heavier than him. Cook’s speed isn’t elite, but nobody is going to catch him from behind. In the passing game he shows soft hands he’ll fight it at times on swing and wheel routes. Pass protection will need to be tweaked at the next level, he is a willing blocker. Although offensive line was a need for the Vikings this is really the best talent you could expect to walk away with at a need. As long as the Vikings are ok with his medical and off-field question marks he could become a household name moving forward.
3(70): As the draft turned towards the 3rd round the Vikings once again opted to trade up from their own pick #79 to the Jets selection #70. In exchange the Vikings traded 5th round selection #160. Once again when comparing the deal against trade charts the Vikings ended up favorable. In this instance moving up was not a “must” but a miniature run on O-line in the late 2nd/early 3rd was starting narrow the Vikings choices.
Pat Elflein (C/OG Ohio State): Why not follow up your addition to the running game with a strong run blocker in Pat Elflein. The coaching staff will need to get their hands on Pat before deciding where to develop him but he has substantial starting guard and center experience from his time at OSU. Watching film on Elflein you can tell he is a smart player and puts in his time watching tape. As a center for Ohio State he did a good job identifying late blitzes and helped get his teammates into positions to be successful. He will never be the most physically gifted player but has adequate speed to get to the edge and generates power at the second level with momentum. At the snap he plays with outstanding leverage and can great push against double teams if needed. Depending on if he ends up at center or guard at the next level it is yet to be proven if he can anchor against the most explosive tackles and strong nose tackles. At times you’ll see his physical limitations lead to holding on a reach block, however these are far and few between. Overall the Vikings pick up a late 2nd round value in the early 3rd with Elflein. Regardless of position he will have the opportunity to come in and start in year one if he can win a competition against Joe Berger or Jeremiah Sirles.
3(86): After trading up from two consecutive selections the Vikings opted to replenish their lost draft picks by trading back with Kansas City for 3rd round selection #104 along with 4th and 7th round selections #’s 132 & 245. The Vikings likely didn’t get face value for their pick but that is somewhat mitigated by the addition of two selections. Based on how the board fell at #86, especially with the Patriots trading ahead of MN for Antonio Garcia this was the correct move.
3(104): Seemingly at the last moment the 49ers called and offered the Vikings an additional 7th round selection #219 to move back an additional 5 spots to the second selection in the 4th round #109. This trade didn’t net the Vikings a ton in return but 7th round selections are important since it allows teams to take potential UDFA’s to prevent other teams from stealing them away. With multiple players on the board suitable for the Vikings needs they likely will still get a comparable player after being able to reset their board overnight.
The Vikings will enter the final day of the draft with selections: 4(109), 4(120), 4(132), 6(199), 7(219), 7(232), 7(245)
Some additional thoughts entering the final day of the draft:
- Look for the Vikings to move back from one of their 4th round selection for a 5th round selection and 2018 4th. The Vikings will transfer their own 2018 4th round selection to Philadelphia (Bradford trade). Look for the FO to recoup that loss with this years ammo.
- With the quarterbacks being pushed down the board that could be a position the Vikings look to find a developmental prospect
- Another O-lineman will be picked up somewhere
- The FO will give Zimmer and the defensive staff some prospects to work with. There are not a ton of immediate needs on that side of the ball which should give the coaching staff some time to develop prospects to fill future needs