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Lunchbreak: Gladney Called 'Dark Horse' Candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year

The Vikings set an NFL record when they drafted 15 players in seven rounds this spring. Will any of those new faces have a shot at winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2020?

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein recently took a look at possible NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year contenders and offered "historical notes and trends that could help piece the DROY puzzle together." He wrote:

View photos of TCU CB Jeff Gladney who was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the NFL Draft.

No safety has won the award since Mark Carrier did it for the Chicago Bears in 1990.

Only three DROY recipients over the past 31 seasons were not drafted in the first round: Darius Leonard (2018), DeMeco Ryans (2006) and Kendrell Bell (2001).

Ohio State alums have won this award in three of the past four seasons.

Since 2002, six edge rushers have won it with season sack totals ranging from [9.0] to 12.

Zierlein called cornerback Jeff Gladney, whom the Vikings drafted 31st overall, a dark horse candidate for the award.

He's not the biggest or fastest rookie cornerback, but he might be the most consistently competitive on-the-ball defender in this draft. Gladney is twitchy and instinctive. He should get on the field right away for the cornerback-needy Vikings. He will take his lumps, to be sure, but look for Gladney to make more plays on the football than most rookie starters.

Who does Zierlein believe has the best shot at winning the award? He pointed to Washington's rookie edge rusher Chase Young, who has "great size and length to transition to playing against NFL tackles."

Zierlein also highlighted Ravens LB Patrick Queen, Chargers LB Kenneth Murray, Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons, Lions CB Jeff Okudah, Jaguars EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars CB CJ Henderson and Panthers DT Derrick Brown. He said the following of Okudah, whom the Vikings are slated to face twice as a division opponent:

He's a terrific athlete with great length and the physical ability to twitch and explode on throws. He hasn't learned to fully trust his eyes, but if it starts to click for him in that area as a rookie and if he's allowed to play a little more off-man coverage, those explosive traits could pay early dividends.

Jim Marshall tabbed as Vikings best player not in HOF

Although the Pro Football Hall of Fame extended its 2020 class to 20 members, Bryan DeArdo pointed out that "there are still a slew of deserving players who are waiting to earn their rightful place" in Canton, Ohio.

DeArdo highlighted one player from each NFL team who is not currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame but should be. He noted that he only selected players who played more than half of their career for that franchise and who currently are eligible for induction into the Hall.

Vikings fans won't be surprised that DeArdo pointed to defensive end Jim Marshall as the Vikings Legend who certainly deserves to be recognized among the greats. DeArdo wrote:

A valued member of Minnesota's "Purple People Eaters" defensive line, Marshall holds numerous NFL records that include the most seasons played by a defensive player (20, along with Junior Seau and Darrell Green), most consecutive games by a defensive player (282), most consecutive starts by a defensive player (270) and most career fumble recoveries (30). Marshall, who was still a starter at age 42, helped the Vikings win three NFC titles along with the NFL championship in 1969.

Another Viking who played during Marshall's era, running back Chuck Foreman, was also considered. The 1973 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Foreman – way ahead of his time in terms of his versatility – led the NFL in receptions in 1975 while averaging 20 yards per catch.

Rudolph encounters surprise guest in Lake Tahoe

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and receiver Adam Thielen currently are by Lake Tahoe to participate in the American Century Championship in Stateline, Nevada.

On Friday, Thielen will tee off in the first round with former Vikings teammate Case Keenum and Rams receiver Cooper Kupp. Rudolph is paired with former DB Charles Woodson and former LB DeMarcus Ware.

There are plenty of celebrities roaming around Lake Tahoe for the big event, but on Thursday night Rudolph encountered a completely unexpected – and furry – guest near his on-site lodging. He posted a photo on Instagram of the bear he and his wife Jordan were surprised to cross paths with.