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2018 Minnesota Vikings Draft Class

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Minnesota Vikings
Draft picks: UCF CB Mike Hughes (No. 30 overall), Pittsburgh OT Brian O'Neill (No. 62 overall), Ohio State DE Jalyn Holmes (No. 102 overall), Central Michigan TE Tyler Conklin (No. 157 overall), Auburn K Daniel Carlson (No. 167 overall), Appalachian State OG Colby Gossett (No. 213 overall), Tulane DE Ade Aruna (No. 218 overall), Cal LB Devante Downs (No. 225 overall).
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: A
Overall grade: A-
The skinny: Terence Newman is no longer with the team, and Mackensie Alexander needed competition in the slot, so the Vikings ignored the offensive line need to pick Hughes. He's a great athlete with some off-field concerns and only average size. He should excel inside for the Vikings. O'Neill needs to get stronger in the lower body to prevent losing leverage, but could end up a good investment in time. GM Rick Spielman moved out of the third round, but only down eight spots, and gained a sixth-round pick in the process. Holmes will bring strength, quickness, and versatility to the Vikings' defense. Conklin's an underrated prospect who is fluid and sure-handed. Minnesota also needed competition at guard, and grabbing Gossett in the sixth round was absolutely a steal. Aruna is raw, but long and athletic, and has huge upside as a pass rusher.

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NFL.com Grade

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I still think the Vikings tried to get cute and misplayed their hand on the offensive line.

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Well, I tried to merge this thread with rpm's thread but it didn't work the way I was expecting it to. Sorry if things don't make sense O.o

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Posted (edited)

I don't have any problem with the Hughes CB pick, but I think this draft class will most likely only go positive if Brain O'Neil is a beast for us at tackle. CB in the 1st increased our risk, & it's hard to make a compelling argument that we hedged it on day 2\3...

I had predicted that OL run coming in the 1st round, do the hope is that Rick did as well and a) still viewed Hughes that highly (lower likely since they talked about his return abilities out of the gate) b) viewed the OL as equal ish or viewed them very different than the norm of other teams.

Holmes pick could be questionable now that Rick has said he is gonna be DT (likely pass rushing DT), and I think we needed the DE pass rushing type more, to give Griffen\Hunter just a lil rest & allowed them to be more effective. So now my hope is that Aruna becomes that guy and that is prolly a stretch, but we can hope......

Conklin, Gosette, Downs are fine for positional depth where we needed it. We'll see what they develop in to.

Carlson I'm good with at K.

UDFA we'll see, they are undrafted for a reason regardless how they were initially rated by main stream

What to make of this? 2019 IOL top need, and to help address that... we might need to carve out some cap funds for a LG, so to help enable that, Waynes 5th option is not picked up, and Hughes is the starter next season after a good rookie season.

Edited by CriminalMind

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1 hour ago, SemperFeist said:

I still think the Vikings tried to get cute and misplayed their hand on the offensive line.

That could be the case but I think they rebounded with some luck on day 3. Gossett is as good as any interior OL you can find on day 3 and will add to the rg competition.  

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That PFF article doesn't include Holmes, weirdly. He graded out pretty well for them, 80.5. He was listed as an edge but didn't make their top 25 at the position.

Meanwhile Hercules Mata'afa was their 7th highest rated edge, ahead of Key, Hubbard, Sweat, Nwosu and others. By PFF charting he only lined up outside the tackles a few times, so he was effectively a DI (DL). 

Aruna was listed as a DI since he played last year as a 3-4 DE, and graded poorly (49.9). His 2016 grade was better, 76.9. He put up 5 sacks, 6 hits and 24 hurries on 321 pass rush snaps, which is solid but not amazing production. 

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1.30: Mike Hughes [CB] Central Florida - Aggregate #27
2.62: Brian O'Neil [T] Pittsburgh - Aggregate #67
4.102: Jalyn Holmes [DL] Ohio State - Aggregate #130
5.157: Tyler Conklin [TE] Central Michigan - Aggregate #181
5.167: Daniel Carlson [K] Auburn - Aggregate #185
6.213: Colby Gosset [G] Appalachian State - Aggregate #158
6.218: Ade Aruna [EDGE] Tulane - Aggregate #176
7.225: Devante Downs [LB] California - Aggregate #NR

UDFA: Holton Hill [CB] Texas - Aggregate #92

 

I'm very happy.

CB was a huge need given Newman is gone, Rhodes gets nicked up a lot, and we might not be able to afford Waynes moving forward. It takes rookie corners 1-2 years to get up to speed in Zimmer's defense so it would be foolish not to address the need this year. Hughes is the perfect fit for this team, and his return ability is just a bonus. I think he beats out Alexander for the starting nickel spot, and I love Zimmer's idea of using 4 CB + 1 S to get more speed on the field. A backfield of Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mike Hughes and Mac Alexander could be SCARY.

O'Neill has enormous potential and I think he is the opening day starter at RT. I love that pick. We need to protect Coiusins, and pass blocking is his specialty. I think O'Neill is better than Kolton Miller both as a long-term prospect and as a current player. 

Holmes and Conklin aren't going to be "starters", but I expect both to get significant playing time this year and be core contributors moving forward. Holmes is immediately the #2 DT behind Richardson and Zimmer has said he needs to use more DL rotation this year. I can definitely see Richardson and Holmes playing next to each other on passing downs. He is another high-potential guy and has all the things Zimmer looks for in a DL player. I also expect Conklin to get a decent amount of playing time by slotting in as the new Trey Burton in JDF's offense. 

Carlson is a potential impact player at the bottom of the 5th round and it sounds like he was coveted by at least a few other teams. You never know how kickers are going to turn out, but he has everything you look for, and this is the point in the draft where you take those swings.

Gossett was a great value pick and will compete for that RG spot right away. The battle between Remmers, O'Neill, Hill, Isidora, Gossett and Compton for those two RG/RT spots will be fascinating. Some people may not think they were flashy additions, but getting O'Neill, Gossett and Compton adds a ton of competition and depth to the right side of the OL. 

Aruna will have a tough time beating out the other DEs that are already on the roster, but he has lots of tools that Zimmer can work with. Ideal PS candidate. I don't know much about Devante Downs but hopefully he can fill in while Brothers is suspended. More LB depth/competition is always good. The only UDFA I'm really excited about is Holton Hill. Hopefully going undrafted is a wake up call and he gets his life together because he obviously has a lot of potential. This is probably the perfect landing spot for him given our coaching staff and the other DBs he can learn from.

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Very mind-boggling draft to me.  If we had drafted Hernandez/O'Neil/Hurst in rounds 1/2/4, I'd be ecstatic.  Interestingly enough, it's not the quality of the players I have an issue with, it's the positions they play.  Zim covets DB's like you-know-who covets the One Ring, or so it seems.  He sees a highly rated CB "falling" and goes berserk.  Last year, it was Alexander in the 2nd, when we had more pressing needs.  This year it was Hughes.  That makes an "investment" of 4 first round picks and 1 second round pick just for the defensive backfield.  Simply inexcusable when considering the offensive line is the Achilles heal of the team.

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11 minutes ago, perrynoid said:

Very mind-boggling draft to me.  If we had drafted Hernandez/O'Neil/Hurst in rounds 1/2/4, I'd be ecstatic.  Interestingly enough, it's not the quality of the players I have an issue with, it's the positions they play.  Zim covets DB's like you-know-who covets the One Ring, or so it seems.  He sees a highly rated CB "falling" and goes berserk.  Last year, it was Alexander in the 2nd, when we had more pressing needs.  This year it was Hughes.  That makes an "investment" of 4 first round picks and 1 second round pick just for the defensive backfield.  Simply inexcusable when considering the offensive line is the Achilles heal of the team.

I don't think we were very deep at CB. What if Rhodes or Waynes goes down. Much easier to fill a guard spot or RT spot imo than a corner spot. We got destroyed when we had to let Trumaine Brock play meaningful snaps.

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49 minutes ago, perrynoid said:

Very mind-boggling draft to me.  If we had drafted Hernandez/O'Neil/Hurst in rounds 1/2/4, I'd be ecstatic.  Interestingly enough, it's not the quality of the players I have an issue with, it's the positions they play.  Zim covets DB's like you-know-who covets the One Ring, or so it seems.  He sees a highly rated CB "falling" and goes berserk.  Last year, it was Alexander in the 2nd, when we had more pressing needs.  This year it was Hughes.  That makes an "investment" of 4 first round picks and 1 second round pick just for the defensive backfield.  Simply inexcusable when considering the offensive line is the Achilles heal of the team.

Different coaches see different ways of building teams. Some believe that it all starts in the trenches. Others believe that it starts on the perimeter. Zimmer clearly believes that you can never have too many really good DBs. I'd be more worried about this strategy if he wasn't successful in building a good defense, but he been successful has so I choose to give him a bit more leeway in how he decides to build the team.

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16 hours ago, KeithVikings28 said:

I don't understand why they always draft an "athletic" tackle who just needs to add "strength."

O'Neil is a bust.

Doesn't need strength, dude has insane raw athleticism, just lacks in technique. In the NC  State game, he gave Bradley Chubb FITS.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, TENINCH said:

I don't think we were very deep at CB. What if Rhodes or Waynes goes down. Much easier to fill a guard spot or RT spot imo than a corner spot. We got destroyed when we had to let Trumaine Brock play meaningful snaps.

While that could very well be the case, let's compare the relative disparities between the position groups:

DB: 1st round picks Smith/Waynes/Rhodes, 2nd round pick Alexander

OL: 1st round picks none 2nd round picks none

We have invested a 3rd round pick in Elflein; that is about it for high-capitol draft picks.  We got destroyed when our OL failed to protect our QB, who was one of the most mobile and elusive in the NFL last year.  We have elite players in every position group except OL.  It would be nice to have at least one OL who is above average!

While I certainly do not disparage your concerns about DB depth, we have much more pressing needs than to spend a 4th first-round pick on DB's, in addition to the second-round pick last year.  That is just too great a disparity between position groups, IMHO.  The best defensive backfield is the one sitting on the bench while your offense repeatedly drives down the length of the field.  Our neglecting the OL will come back to haunt us, especially playoff time.

Edited by perrynoid
spelling error

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3 hours ago, Heimdallr said:

Well, I tried to merge this thread with rpm's thread but it didn't work the way I was expecting it to. Sorry if things don't make sense O.o

You ruined it!! ;)

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I don't find it shocking we've spent many high picks at the corner position. Zimmer came from Cincinnati who drafted Joseph, Hall (back to back years), Kirkpatrick, and Dennard (2012 and 2014). Zimmer was only there for one of those picks, but it's a philosophy he clearly bought into.

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I see two potential day one starters in Hughes (NCB) and O'Neil (RT). The kicker should make the team id think too.

Several others should stick around as backups like Holmes and Conklin. The 6th round picks are a question mark, as is always the case with good teams.

im not sure any of the picks after O'Neil have starting potential but Conklin and Holmes may be able to develop into solid rotational pieces.

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