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Kiper: Brothers is 'Favorite' Late-Round Value Pick in NFC North

One of the most well-known draft analysts had some high praise for a Vikings rookie.

ESPN's Mel Kiper recently said on the 'Dari and Mel Show,' a podcast Kiper hosts with Dari Nowkah, that Minnesota's Kentrell Brothers was the best late-round value pick in the NFC North. 

Brothers, a fifth-round pick out of Missouri, led the nation with 152 total tackles in 2015.

 "Lots of guys to go to here, Dari, Kentrell Brothers, though, is my favorite," Kiper said. "He is a tackling machine coming out of Missouri to the Minnesota Vikings.

"I said on draft day, the Spielman family (Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Chris Spielman), those linebackers, Chris Spielman didn't have a great 40 time, was phenomenal in Detroit," he added. "Don't worry about measureables for linebackers. It's instincts. He ran a 4.85. He plays like he runs 4.6. That's all that matters."

Kiper also commented on first-round wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who some have compared to Hall of Famer Michael Irvin because of their similar size.

Kiper hesitated to put Treadwell in the same category and added that the former Mississippi standout should just try and help the Vikings offense any way he can.

"Laquon Treadwell in Minnesota has been brought in to be what Michael Irvin was in that Norv Turner offense, and can he be that with that 4.63 (40-yard dash time)?," Kiper asked. "That's why he dropped to where he was.

"He's got the real good hands but he had some concentration-dropped passes at Ole Miss this year," Kiper added. "Laquon Treadwell needs to be a big-time weapon opposite Stefon Diggs for Teddy Bridgewater."

Vikings rank 9th in ESPN's post-draft power rankings

The Vikings are on the rise in ESPN's latest power rankings.

Minnesota was slotted in ninth in the most recent edition, a one-spot jump from the post-free agency rankings.

The Vikings, who went 11-5 and won the NFC North last season, were the fifth NFC team listed behind Carolina, Green Bay, Seattle and Arizona.

Dan Graziano of ESPN chimed in with a blurb about the Vikings.

Often, the surprise upstart playoff team takes an ugly step back the year following its breakthrough. The Eagles in 2014. The Chargers last year. The second season of "Friday Night Lights." The Vikings could be such a team, but they shouldn't get discouraged if it happens. Clear eyes, full hearts can't lose.

Goessling: Treadwell should be Vikings best rookie in 2016

The ESPN beat writers for each NFL team recently took a crack at predicting which rookies would have the biggest impact on their respective team.

Ben Goessling said that Treadwell is expected to give Minnesota's offense a jolt after being a first-round selection.

*The Vikings' draft class is such that most of their rookies don't have to contribute this year, but there's one notable exception: The league's 31st-ranked passing offense needs first-round pick Laquon Treadwell to step in and become a go-to receiver target for Teddy Bridgewater. It would be surprising not to see the 23rd overall pick play a major role in the offense this year; the Vikings drafted him in part because he already excels at some of the routes they frequently use. He'll be asked to step in and give the offense an immediate boost. *

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