The Vikings selected four offensive players (of eight total picks) in the 2016 NFL Draft, adding onto free agency moves to bolster Minnesota's offense heading into the first season in U.S. Bank Stadium.
"We've addressed the defense pretty heavily over the last two years and feel pretty comfortable with how we've been able to add and those guys are contributing to help us win games," Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman told Twin Cities media members Saturday. "We've focused more a little bit on the offensive side of the ball, to help our young quarterback with some of the moves we've made on the offensive line and the receivers we've added, that it will help in the development of Teddy.
Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune looked at the changes to Minnesota's offense since last season. He wrote:
[The Vikings] used their first-round pick on Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell, a physical possession receiver who made contested catches in college and just so happens to be the best run-blocking wideout in his class.
In addition to Treadwell, the Vikings added tackle Willie Beavers, German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer and tight end David Morgan with the 121st, 180th and 188th overall picks, respectively. Combine those with offensive linemen Alex Boone and Andre Smith signed earlier this offseason as free agents, and Minnesota's roster has six new names on the offensive side of the ball.
While success cannot be measured until the NFL season starts, those moves, in addition to the natural progression of Bridgewater, give hope that the Vikings offense will close some ground on the defense in 2016.
"Spielman has done very well in this offseason," Bleacher Report analyst Matt Miller told Vensel. "Adding two starting-caliber — and at times high-level — linemen was a clutch move. And then to add Treadwell in Round One shows that the Vikings are committed to giving Bridgewater the tools he needs."
Former WR Eric Moulds praises Laquon Treadwell
Following the Vikings selection of Treadwell, Pioneer Press writer Chris Tomasson spoke with former Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds, who weighed in on Treadwell's skill set.
Treadwell and Moulds attended rival schools in Ole Miss and Mississippi State, respectively.
"I know a lot of guys who played at Ole Miss,'' Moulds told Tomasson in a phone interview. "They hate us and we hate them, but at the same time we have a lot of respect for one another. You want their guys to do well, just not against you. I think (Treadwell) has the ability to become an all-pro player. I thought he was the best wide receiver in the draft. I thought Minnesota got the steal of the draft.''
Moulds said he can see a number of comparisons between himself and Treadwell.
Moulds, who said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, believes he slipped to No. 24 in the draft because there were questions about his speed. Treadwell, originally projected as a top-15 pick, [could have fallen] in part because he ran 4.63 at his March 28 pro day.
"There's a lot of comparisons,'' Moulds told Tomasson. "We both played at Mississippi schools, in the SEC, we're both big receivers that attack the football. I think we have a lot of similarities. People talk about his speed, but I think that is overrated because there is football speed and there is clock speed, and I think Treadwell has football speed. He can get open, and I think we both have the knack for that.''
Goessling offers analysis on Vikings draft picks
Following the conclusion of the draft, ESPN's Ben Goessling took a look at each Vikings pick* *and offered his own analysis on the selections.
Goessling said Minnesota got a "Michael Irvin-style" receiver in Treadwell as its first-round pick.
Treadwell doesn't turn 21 until this summer, and at 6-foot-2, he adds the size the Vikings desperately needed in their receiver group. His footwork should help him separate from defensive backs, and he's got the size to block for RB Adrian Peterson – which is no small part of the Vikings' offense.
Looking at the Vikings fourth-round pick, Goessling said tackle Willie Beavers will offer Minnesota the depth it needs on the offensive line. Goessling said Beavers could end up being an option at guard, as well.
His feet might be his best attribute, and while he'll need some refinement in the NFL, he's starting from a good place athletically. It behooves the Vikings to add young linemen that can take a year to develop, and that will likely be their plan with Beavers.
In regards to Boehringer, Goessling echoed Spielman's sentiments that the German wide receiver was drafted for a much larger reason than a good story and said Boehringer could become a dynamic part of the Vikings offense if he can effectively transition into the NFL from the German football league.
Goessling said seventh-round pick Stephen Weatherly, who played both defensive end and linebacker at Vanderbilt, could develop into a defensive asset for Minnesota.
We talked last month about the Vikings ongoing hunt for athletic pass-rushers, and Weatherly certainly should give them another one […] He's going to need some work in the NFL, particularly as he shifts to defensive end, but his size and speed fit squarely in the range of the players the Vikings are trying to collect. They'll see if they can mold him into another successful pass-rusher.