It’s the Monday following the NFL Draft, which means analysts have already doled out quick-reaction grades for each team.
NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter gave the Vikings an A-minus overall grade for their eight selections, six of which were drafted on Day 3.
For the Vikings first-round selection alone, Reuter gave an A for Minnesota’s choice of Central Florida CB Mike Hughes at No. 30. He wrote that Hughes is a “great athlete” and predicted that he’ll be a good fit as a slot corner.
The Vikings used their second-round spot to snag tackle Brian O’Neill, whom Reuter said “needs to get strong in the lower body,” but he added that O’Neill could “end up a good investment.” Reuter gave the pick a B .
Reuter wrote the following summary for Saturday, which he graded with an A-minus:
[General Manager] Rick Spielman moved out of the third round, but only down eight spots, and gained a sixth-round pick in the process. Holmes will bring strength, quickness and versatility to the Vikings defense. [Tyler] Conklin’s an underrated prospect who is fluid and sure-handed. Minnesota also needed competition at guard, and grabbing [Colby] Gossett in the sixth round was absolutely a steal. [Ade] Aruna is raw, but long and athletic, and has huge upside as a pass rusher.
Reuter gave A grades to NFC North rivals Chicago and Green Bay, and he graded Detroit with a B.
Goessling: Post-draft questions for the Vikings
With eight new draft selections added and finalizing additional undrafted free-agent signings, the Vikings have a clearer idea of what their roster will look like heading into OTAs, training camp and the preseason.
Ben Goessling of the *Star Tribune *wrote recently there are a few questions surrounding the Vikings after the draft, including what the starting offensive line will look like. He said it will be determined if O’Neill is “ready to play as a rookie” in addition to evaluating their options at right guard after Joe Berger retired this spring.
Goessling posed questions about who will primarily fill the nickel cornerback position and competition at kicker after Minnesota added Auburn standout Daniel Carlson in the fifth round. He then took a look at linebacker depth and wrote the following:
*The Vikings will add more players at the position through their rookie free-agent class, but they have only six on the roster after the draft. One of them, Kentrell Brothers, will be suspended for the first four games of the year, and another — seventh-round pick Devante Downs — is coming off a knee injury that could limit him for part of the spring program. The Vikings were optimistic about rookie Eric Wilson last year and could look for more from him in Year 2 behind Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Ben Gedeon. *
Finally, Goessling evaluated options at a third running back after Jerick McKinnon departed in free agency.
With Dalvin Cook making solid progress in his return from a torn ACL, the Vikings have a solid 1-2 combo with Cook and Latavius Murray. Especially if they exercise some caution with Cook’s workload, though, the Vikings could need another back to help replace Jerick McKinnon after he signed with the 49ers.
Vikings adding ‘great athletes’ through NFL Draft
In his post-draft session with media, Spielman highlighted the athleticism of many of the Vikings draft picks.
“Our coaches are so eager to work with these athletes, and to me that’s when you get an opportunity to make a hit on a guy that can be something, the Danielle Hunters of the world,” Spielman said. “I think when we drafted him in the third I don’t know how popular that was because he had one sack coming out. But, he had such great traits and things these coaches love to work with that he’s developed. That’s the philosophy we’ve kind of used as we’ve went through the draft.”
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com delved into the Vikings philosophy a bit more in an article of his own, specifically as it pertains to Hughes’ skill set. He wrote:
*The Vikings look for specific aspects of a player’s athleticism, not just for Combine heroes. For example, with first-round pick Mike Hughes, Head Coach Mike Zimmer referred to his ability to get in and out of cuts quickly. Hughes was not the fastest 40-yard dash runner but ranked in the 86th percentile in the 3-cone drill. The website Relative Athletic Scores, which combines size and Combine results to historical success data to form a 0-10 scale, rated Hughes’ athletic profile similar to Richard Sherman. *