The Vikings used Waynes primarily on special teams as a rookie, although he received some defensive snaps throughout the year as well. Waynes started on special teams Week 1 against San Francisco, and he made his defensive debut on Sept. 27 when cornerback
As the youngest player in the NFL, Hunter was often described as “raw” when Minnesota drafted him. In his first NFL season, Hunter has become more refined. He most often filled a rotational player role, but he made several big plays throughout the year. Hunter recorded his first full sack against Jay Cutler (Chicago) on Nov. 1 and finished the season with 6.0 sacks. Hunter’s breakout game came in Minnesota’s second game against Chicago – the rookie recorded 1.5 sacks on the day and totaled six tackles (five solo).
While it may not have been in Minnesota’s blueprints to start Clemmings his rookie season, he stepped into the first-team offense back in April when right tackle
MyCole Pruitt, TE (Round 5, 143rd overall)
The Vikings had good depth at tight end heading into the 2015 season, and Pruitt added to that corps. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner was able to use Pruitt as an extra option on offense, and he demonstrated a high amount of potential in his debut NFL season. Pruitt caught his first career pass on Oct. 25 against Detroit for 13 yards and a first down. He started two games during the season against Oakland (Nov. 15) and Chicago (Dec. 20) and finished the season with 10 receptions. Pruitt’s ability to block allowed the Vikings to incorporate three tight ends in a set that led to some of the biggest run plays of the season. Pruitt also played on the special teams unit throughout the year and recorded his first special teams tackle against the Giants Dec. 27.
Shepherd played in 14 games for Minnesota during his rookie season. Although he played mainly on special teams, Shepherd was also a reliable option to fill in as needed on the offensive line. He played six offensive snaps against Chicago (Nov. 1) when fellow tackle T.J. Clemmings was temporarily sidelined with an injury, and he played nine offensive snaps against the Giants (Dec. 27) when tackle Matt Kalil left briefly with an injury.
Coming in as a late-round pick, Robinson made his NFL debut as part of the Vikings active roster on Oct. 18 against Kansas City. Robinson was used primarily as an option on special teams, finishing the season with eight special teams tackles. Robinson started at linebacker in place of Anthony Barr against Arizona (Dec. 10) and Chicago (Dec. 20), recording three and two tackles, respectively. Robinson had a career-high four tackles (three solo) against the Giants on Dec. 27 and finished the season with nine tackles at linebacker.
Anthony Harris, S (Undrafted)
Harris joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent and spent the first part of the 2015 season on the practice squad. Harris lived up to his reputation of being a good student, however, absorbing everything he could in preparation for a chance at the active roster. Harris got his opportunity on Dec. 10 against Arizona, in which he not only was activated from the practice squad but made his first career start in place of the injured
Taylor Heinicke, QB (Undrafted)
B.J. DuBose, DE (Round 6, 193rd overall) – just called up
DuBose spent the entirety of the regular season on the Vikings practice squad but has been called up this week to add depth to a Vikings defensive line that powered through fatigue and injuries at Green Bay. That perseverance allowed the Vikings to pressure Aaron Rodgers in critical moments.
DuBose is a former college teammate of Teddy Bridgewater who started 13 games at Louisville as a senior and recorded career highs in tackles (41), tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (4.0). Listed at 6-foot-4 and 284 pounds, DuBose was a tight end and linebacker on the South Florida Express, a 7-on-7 passing league team prior to their time at Louisville.
Rookie Footnotes: Rookie Regulars and Leaders
The 2015 Vikings draft class combined to appear in 115 games and make 45 starts. Trae Waynes led the team with 14 special teams tackles, Eric Kendricks led the defense with 105 tackles and Danielle Hunter finished second on the squad with 6.0 sacks. Stefon Diggs became the first Vikings rookie to lead the team in receptions in one season with 52 catches.