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Monday Morning Mailbag: Questions and Answers about Vikings 2020 Draft Class

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I think we checked a lot of boxes and put ourselves in position to have a competitive roster for this coming season and beyond. Having the volume of picks enabled us to make multiple selections at each position of need, but what also stood out to me was already having great depth at positions like running back and tight end enabled us to use all of that draft capital on the positions of greatest need. I think that [Vikings GM] Rick [Spielman], the coaches and scouts did their usual excellent job of finding talent in all rounds of the draft. I couldn't help but notice the graphic shown multiple times during the telecast stating that 56% of the 2019 roster was made up of our own draft picks. That certainly speaks to the ability of our front office to continue to find quality players from the college ranks. SKOL!

— Bill Shaw in Rochester, New York

Bill, you are simply spot-on with your draft analysis/recap. It was no secret that the Vikings endured a bit of roster turnover this offseason. As many as a half-dozen starters from the Vikings most-recent playoff game might not be back, including four potential guys on defense, and that doesn't include names such as Mackensie Alexander, Stephen Weatherly, Andrew Sendejo, Laquon Treadwell and others.

In the weeks leading up to the draft, the main positions of need appeared to be WR, CB, T and the defensive line. Perhaps it's no surprise that nine of Minnesota's first 10 picks focused on those four groups.

Trade Stefon Diggs? Respond by drafting LSU star Justin Jefferson at No. 22. See three corners leave? Draft three corners in Jeff Gladney, Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand. Release Linval Joseph and lose Weatherly and possibly Everson Griffen? Pick up defensive end D.J. Wonnum and DT James Lynch on back-to-back picks in the fourth round.

There wasn't much of a need for position groups such as TE, RB and the specialists, so there was no reason for the Vikings to address those spots. And with a NFL record of 15 picks in a seven-round draft — which certainly made for a long but fun weekend — the front office could devote plenty of resources to the areas they thought needed it the most.

I also noticed that graphic you referenced, and you can believe that Spielman and his staff are certainly proud of that. They love finding talent and keeping it right here in Minnesota.

Very happy with Jefferson pick! But can you make me feel better [about Gladney] and name a perennial lockdown corner that's 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds? I hope I'm wrong but that is a huge disadvantage when you're giving up on average 2-4 inches and 20-30 pounds every play. Can be done in college but much more difficult at NFL level where everyone is good. Go Vikes!

— RJ in Texas

RJ certainly makes a valid point about Gladney not being the biggest cornerback out there, but that hasn't stopped others from being successful. Coach Zimmer actually said that the former TCU standout reminds him of some other shorter cornerbacks he's coached in his career.

A name that comes to mind there is Terence Newman, who wasn't 6-foot either, but had a pretty successful career if you ask me. He's a guy who used his athleticism and smarts to succeed, even if he wasn't the tallest guy on the field.

Spielman referenced Gladney's arm length and noted that the cornerback plays bigger than he appears. And Gladney himself said that he isn't going to back down from anyone on the field.

"I play very physical," Gladney said. "It doesn't matter what size opponent I'm playing, I'm going to bring the physicality to him and see if he wants it, or if he doesn't."

Plus, if Gladney does get some work in the slot — a possibility as we go forward — he could thrive at that spot no matter what his height is.

View images of all of the Minnesota Vikings 2020 NFL Draft picks.

The virtual draft has come and gone. I scratch my head with some of our selections though knowing what some of our needs might be down the road. Anthony Harris may not be back next year yet we passed on Antoine Winfield, Jr., and took an undersized CB in Gladney. Justin Jefferson could be a good one in the slot, but we have a logjam at slotback. I realize Diggs started for us at slot but he had the speed to move outside where we needed him. Is Kirk Cousins the future? Not really, but Jordan Love could've been. And for some reason no one drafted [LSU tight end] Thaddeus Moss (Randy's son) — no idea why. Overall, we got lots of bodies with no idea who'll work out. We could have moved many of those picks for a few real good ones — just saying. Help me understand their thought process please.

— Nicholas Balkou

Remember that teams sometimes take both a short and long-term look at their roster in the same draft.

Harris has been franchise tagged, so he's under contract for 2020, and the team could work with him on a longer extension. Cousins has been extended through 2022, so the Vikings have him in mind for the foreseeable future. With so many losses in other positions — namely at CB, DL, and WR — there's a reason that five of the team's first six selections focused on those spots.

Also, we don't know what grades the Vikings had on players who went to other teams. The Winfield and Moss connections would have been fun for fans and media, sure, but we don't know how Minnesota felt about their draft board as the rounds evolved.

There will always be praise and criticism from the outside world about each and every draft class,but the general consensus surrounding Rick Spielman and the Vikings is that they crushed it the past few days.

I was truly impressed by the Vikings draft this year. I believe they hit big on holes that badly need to be filled. But with such young talent in the secondary, especially at corner, would it be wise the organization to pursue a former first-round pick who has played 'good', such as Eli Apple? Under Coach Zimmer, he could evolve into an elite player as well as help the rookies improve. Is there potential for a deal?

— Jason Rosser

Rick Spielman said both before and after the draft that the Vikings could take a look at some veteran free agents that were still out there. We'll be sure to let you know about any future free agent signees.

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