EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings added to all three phases – offense, defense and special teams – to finish out the 2019 NFL Draft.
Minnesota made four picks in the seventh round, kicking it off with Texas cornerback Kris Boyd at the 217th spot.
The Vikings then snagged their first receiver of this year’s draft, Oregon’s Dillon Mitchell (239th) followed by another receiver, Colorado State’s Olabisi Johnson, just eight picks later (247th).
With their 12th (the most of any team) and final selection, the Vikings drafted Air Force long snapper Austin Cutting.
Here’s a look at Minnesota’s seventh-round selections:
Pick No. 217: Texas CB Kris Boyd
Boyd played four seasons for the Longhorns, totaling 191 tackles (141 solo) over his collegiate career. As a senior in 2018, he recorded 67 tackles (49 solo), one interception, 1.0 sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, 16 passes broken up and one forced fumble.
Boyd will reunite in Minnesota with Texas teammate Holton Hill, who signed with the Vikings last spring as an undrafted free agent. The two committed to the University of Texas at the same time coming out of high school, and Boyd said he’s looking forward to sharing a locker room with Hill.
“It’s crazy because 20-30 minutes before I got drafted, me and him were on the phone together, and we were just having a casual conversation not thinking nothing of it,” Boyd said. “We were just like if we had the opportunity to be drafted to the same team and then right after that happened me, him, and Devante [Davis], we had a three-way Facetime, all smiling.
“It’s a blessing getting this opportunity,” Boyd added. “When you get that coming from where I come from, I’m just happy, ready to embrace it, and just show everybody what time of player I am.”
Boyd credited Texas Head Coach Jason Washington for helping develop his game.
“I feel like he doesn’t get the recognition he needs,” Boyd said. “He came in and made an impact on me, Hollywood (Hill) and Devante [quickly]. If you go back and look at the film when we were with [former Head Coach Charlie Strong] and then go look when were with [Washington], the technique changed. Everything changed, and you can see it in the film.”
Take a look at all of the Vikings 2019 NFL Draft Picks in photos.
Pick No. 239: Oregon WR Dillon Mitchell
Mitchell had a breakout season as a junior in 2018, racking up 1,184 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns for the Ducks. His yardage total led the Pac 12 and was a school single-season record.
The native of Memphis, Tennessee, described the moment he received the call from Minnesota:
“That moment was indescribable. My heart was pounding,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t know if it was going to be the call or not. I was just super excited, super emotional and crying like a baby.”
Mitchell said he “has a lot of people to prove wrong” and is grateful to Minnesota for giving him the opportunity to compete. He is well-aware of the group he’s joining, saying that Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are “I think the best duo in the league.” He also mentioned the legacy of receivers in Purple, naming Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Randy Moss.
“I definitely know the history, and I want to continue that,” Mitchell said.
The wide receiver also contributed on special teams at Oregon, returning 21 punts and three kickoffs.
Pick No. 247: Colorado State WR Olabisi Johnson
Johnson started 11 contests as a senior, catching 54 passes for 796 yards (14.7 average) and four touchdowns for the Rams.
Additionally, he contributed as a punt returner during his time at Colorado State, totaling 26 returns for 170 yards.
Johnson also said he’s looking forward to competing in the receiver group when he arrives in Minnesota, saying there’s “always an opportunity to snatch the number three job.”
“It’s going to be fun to compete. That is what it takes to be an athlete,” Johnson said. “That is what I love about the game, is there is always competition. Guys will make you compete, and guys will make you better as a player.
“That’s what is going to be the huge change for me going from college to NFL,” he continued. “Just how much guys know and how much they can teach me. I am just going to get under somebody’s wing and learn from them.”
While his first priority is getting to work on the football field, Johnson also has an interest in giving back.
“I love hanging out with kids and inspiring the youth. I feel like where my family has come from and everything, especially from Nigeria, you see a lot of poverty and things like that,” Johnson said. “Just in the position I am as an athlete, I can inspire a lot of younger people, whether it is younger or older. I am just here for whatever. I would love to get involved in the community for sure.”
Pick No. 250: Air Force LS Austin Cutting
Cutting told Twin Cities media members that he is “thrilled” to be drafted by the Vikings and that it’s a dream come true to make it to the NFL. He did explain, however, that the Air Force has a “duty policy” in place.
“We have to serve 24 months before we can apply to have the remainder of our commitment served in the Reserve,” Cutting said. “That’s all I can really say about that; those are decisions made above my paygrade.”
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke with media members following the conclusion of the draft Saturday evening and confirmed that he is aware of the unique situation.
“Just so everybody understands, we’ve been in constant communication with the Air Force Academy,” Spielman said. “What I can tell you is I know Austin is very excited and obligated to serve his commitment. I know talking with the people at the Academy, we’re working through right now ways that he can serve his commitment but also be able to serve his capacity here as a football player. So that’s a work in progress. It’s something that we have discussed over the past week or so.”
Cutting called it an honor to be part of the Air Force football program and garner enough attention to be on the NFL’s radar.
He is the first Falcons player to be drafted since 1999 (Buffalo picked DT Bryce Fisher at No. 248) and plans to attend the Vikings rookie minicamp at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center next week.
“They are currently actually working on that, and I’ve been in touch with a lot of people at school and they’re doing their due diligence,” Cutting said. “I’ll be able to [be there]; I’ve got to make up my work on Thursday and Friday, but other than that, absolutely. Absolutely.”