We're now under three months away from the 2019 NFL Draft, and mock drafts already are predicting which college standouts will go where in April.
Rather than look ahead, however, NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman is looking back at last year's rookie class. He is moving through each division and grading the teams' 2018 draft selections. Bergman tackled the NFC North on Tuesday and gave the Vikings rookies a B-minus for their overall production last season. He wrote:
It's hard to evaluate Minnesota's class when its first-round pick played less than half a season. [Mike] Hughes was playing well and frequently over the Vikings first five games, even recording a pick in Minnesota's opener, but his year was cut short by a torn ACL in Week 6. Hughes flashed enough to suggest he'll be a formidable starter for years to come. [Brian] O'Neill stepped up during the last half of the year at right tackle and should pair with Riley Reiff next season as solid bookends in front of Kirk Cousins.
Bergman called cornerback Holton Hill and running back Mike Boone "notable rookie free agent signings" by Minnesota.
He also predicted the Vikings focus at the NFL Scouting Combine and in free agency could be on the offensive line and wrote that Minnesota needs to figure out the status of Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson, whose current contracts are set to expire next month
As for the rest of the NFC North, Bergman gave the Packers and Lions a B and graded the Bears the highest with an A-minus. Most notable for Chicago was its first- and second-round picks: LB Roquan Smith (8th overall), OL James Daniels (39th) and WR Anthony Miller (51st).
Pair of former Vikings included in 'Auburn's top 10 receivers'
With the NFL Scouting Combine on the horizon, schools all over the country will be represented.
Mark Inabinett of AL.com recently took a look at former NFL receivers who were products of Auburn and ranked the top 10 in order of career receiving yards in the pros. Two of the receivers on Inabinett's list spent time in Minnesota: Red Phillips and Dave Middleton.
Phillips, who played for the Vikings from 1965-67, ranks second among Auburn receivers with 6,044 receiving yards in the pros. Inabinett wrote:
The former Benjamin Russell standout caught 401 passes, averaged 15.1 yards per reception and scored 34 receiving touchdowns during his career. Phillips has the most career TD receptions among former Auburn players, a position he's held since his All-Pro season in 1961, when he led the NFL with 78 receptions.
Middleton totaled 2,966 NFL receiving yards, good enough for fourth on the list. He played for the Lions from 1955-60 before joining the Vikings for one season, their inaugural 1961 campaign.
The former Ensley standout caught 183 passes, averaged 16.2 yards per reception and scored 17 receiving touchdowns during his career. The 12thplayer picked in the 1955 NFL Draft, Middleton played on the most recent Detroit team to win [an] NFL championship in 1957.