The NFL Combine is set to begin in Indianapolis this week as the Vikings coaches and front office staff will continue prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL experts and draft analysts have compiled overviews of hundreds of top prospects' strengths and weaknesses.
NFL.com is one site that has predicted strengths and weaknesses as well as comparisons of players over the years.
Vikings.com has taken a throwback look of the draft profiles on NFL.com of the current Minnesota Vikings roster.
Anthony Barr – *Exceptional take-off speed, acceleration and closing burst. Makes plays effortlessly in back-side lateral pursuit. Outstanding recovery quickness to make plays (when he is out of position). Explosive striker. Can produce "wow" plays when he triggers quickly or releases cleanly and has developed a reputation for knocking quarterbacks out of games.*
Stefon Diggs – Fluid, flexible athlete. Five-star recruit who stayed home to help build local program. Instinctive route runner. Does an outstanding job of sinking his hips and exploding out of breaks to create immediate separation. Natural ball-plucker. Excellent body control to adjust to throws, whether they're low, high or behind him. Can make contested catches. Dynamic and dangerous with the ball in his hands. Sudden once he's in space, using head fakes and impressive lateral change of direction to make multiple defenders miss. Instant acceleration is his differentiator from the slot. **
Case Keenum –Keenum had an ungodly amount of production while at Houston. He is a good, mechanical thrower who makes quick decisions within the scheme. He understands how to read defenses and pick his spots in zones. He is an accurate thrower who puts good touch on his throws to lead his receivers. He is good to extend the play and work outside the pocket.
Everson Griffen –Griffen's a tough, strong defensive end prospect. Will show good hand use. Has really impressive speed and range for a big man (was a high school running back). Displays very explosive power to knock blockers backwards and to hold up at the point of attack against the run. Has great initial quickness off the ball when rushing the passer.
Danielle Hunter–Freakish combination of size, athleticism and explosiveness. Has long arms with jarring power behind his hands. Fluid and agile in space. Uses length to bat down passes and disrupt the passing lane. Flashes winning spin move in pass rush, but needs to learn to set it up better. Uses arm-over inside move to set up tackles for loss. Secondary motor to pursue and speed to chase leads to more tackle opportunities. Off-field character considered "squeaky clean" by NFL scouts.
Linval Joseph *– Joseph has the size to play as a nose tackle in a 3-4 or defensive tackle in an even front. Possesses very good natural strength and power to control the middle against the run. Exhibits really active hands necessary to keep blockers off his body.*
Eric Kendricks–Confident with a downhill, attacking mindset. Good feet to slide, follow and burst to developing run plays. Can turn and chase sideline to sideline. Diagnoses quickly and attacks run fits while avoiding blockers. Is always around the play. Outstanding at sinking hips and changing direction. Exhibits good play speed and is able to cover man-to-man in space. Good zone awareness and makes plays on the ball.
Riley Reiff–* Reiff is a big body who uses his frame well in pass protection. He is powerful blocker who is good to roll his hips into his man to tap into his power and explosion. He is fluid to get out into space and seal the edge or work up to linebacker level. In pass protection he keeps his weight even to have a good anchor and stall bull rushers. Riley has incredible body control and is a true technician working within the box.*
Kyle Rudolph–* Rudolph is tall with a monster frame. Possesses an explosive first step and has the speed to stretch the field. Fluid in transition to separate in man and shows a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage. Has excellent hands and the body control to win jump balls. Tough kid that always finishes the play.** *
Harrison Smith–*Smith is an athletic, smart free safety. He stands out as a lengthy athlete who has range to match NFL speed across the defensive backfield. He is extremely reliable and effective in run support, which comes from his ability to read and react to plays on a quick twitch off the snap. As a pass-defender, he is able to read the ball in the air and make plays all across the back end of the defense. He is able to read the quarterback well in zone and uses his athletic ability to turn and run to make plays on the ball. *
Xavier Rhodes–Big frame and size for the position. Press corner who likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently gets contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements. Flashes strength to throw receiver to the side when wanting to get in on piles. Can really lay into a hit. Turns to find the football and adjusts well if in the hip pocket of a receiver downfield.
Trae Waynes–Loves to compete in man-to-man and is mentally tough. Bump-and-run specialist. Maintains feel for vertical threats and uses his frame to pin wideouts against sideline. Excels in deep, man coverage and can be smothering. Acceleration and length to contest any throw on the field. Can be intimidating and disruptive against finesse receivers. Drives forward with burst and runs through targets, jarring balls loose.
The bottom line analysis on some of the Vikings is interesting to track as well:
Anthony Barr–A highly disruptive, athletic specimen with the pass-rush potential to effortlessly emerge as a double-digit sack producer. Is the type of rare athlete that could even contribute as an offensive playmaker once he learns to grasp defensive concepts and the game slows down for him.
Stefon Diggs–Diggs can make things happen when he has the ball in his hands and could become a consistent, productive weapon for the right offensive coordinator.
Xavier Rhodes *– Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket.*
Danielle Hunter–Hunter's floor is high thanks to his overwhelming physical traits and motor, but his ceiling will only go as high as the level of coaching he is able to incorporate.
Trae Waynes– He's a bump-and-run cornerback with the length, deep speed and confidence to handle himself down the field against speed. His 4.31 40, smooth hips and overall fluidity displayed at the combine could make him a much earlier pick in the draft than previously projected. Waynes carries a very high ceiling.
Eric Kendricks–Kendricks is an intelligent leader with high football character. Eric Kendricks plays with plus instincts against the run and pass. He has the athleticism and demeanor to be an impactful, productive outside linebacker in a 4-3 for years to come.
The experts picked some pretty interesting player comparisons for the current Vikings as they prepared for their careers in the NFL:
Stefon Diggs–* *Harry Douglas
Danielle Hunter–* *Jason Pierre-Paul
Eric Kendricks–* *Wesley Woodyard
Xavier Rhodes– Brandon Browner
Trae Waynes– Antonio Cromartie
It's safe to say that the Vikings have done a great job proving the experts wrong on what were considered their weaknesses heading into their respective NFL Drafts:
Everson Griffen–Lacks competitiveness at times and doesn't always play with high intensity.
Xavier Rhodes *– His game is somewhat scheme-dependent.*
Stefon Diggs–Doesn't possess the strength or long speed to make a living as an outside receiver.
Danielle Hunter–Pass-rush production doesn't match the traits.
Linval Joseph–* Must become more consistent with his pad level to improve his production level.*
Eric Kendricks–* Doesn't meet ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage as much as he could.*