The NFL Draft is now under a month away and is slated to go on as scheduled despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit identified draft needs for all 32 NFL teams and said Minnesota has "holes in its starting lineup on both sides of the ball." Benoit wrote:
Offensively, it starts at wide receiver, following the Stefon Diggs trade. In-house replacement options [Bisi] Johnson and Chad Beebe can be serviceable contributors off the bench, but a veritable No. 2 target must be found. Otherwise, Adam Thielen will encounter every form of double-team coverage imaginable in 2020. The other two holes are at guard. …. Minnesota is fully committed to its foundational outside zone blocking scheme, so whoever the Vikings draft here must be nimble and quick.
Benoit then looked at the Vikings defense and highlighted cornerback as the biggest need after the release of Xavier Rhodes and departure of Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander in free agency.
[Minnesota's] 2018 first-round pick Mike Hughes can comfortably take one of the starting spots, and maybe … fellow third-year pro, undrafted man Holton Hill, can take the other. … Hughes' ability to play inside or outside at least gives [the Vikings] some flexibility in who they take.
SI's Gary Gramling then provided the "Top-100 Targets" that could be options for Minnesota, saying the team could "certainly fill two of those needs" with their pair of first-round picks.
Among the receivers, [Clemson's] Tee Higgins would give them a big catch radius target opposite Thielen, while LSU's Justin Jefferson would provide a wily possession target who could move around the formation. But with such great depth at receiver, it might make more sense to wait until that 58thpick to address the need, when they could pick up a pro-ready option like USC's Michael Pittman, Jr., or Florida's Van Jefferson.
It isn't a great interior O-line class, but Michigan's Cesar Ruiz is an ideal fit in their scheme and would be worth what some would consider a minor reach in the top 25. If they go cornerback with one of those first-round picks, Utah's Jaylon Johnson would be able to step in as an immediate starter and potential future shutdown corner, while TCU's Jeff Gladney is undersized but ultra-competitive, likely able to play the boundary as well as the slot. Virginia's Bryce Hall is also polished and can handle Mike Zimmer's scheme, even if his lack of long speed is not ideal. If they wait, among the NFL-ready corners potentially available mid-Day 2 are slot guys Amik Robertson of Louisiana Tech, Auburn's Javaris Davis and Josiah Scott of Michigan State.
Rudolph staying in shape while staying at home
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdowns of NFL team facilities, and public gyms also are closed around the league, meaning players are getting creative to keep their offseason workouts going.
YAHOO! Sports senior writer Terez Paylor spoke with Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph about how he is staying in shape while staying home and practicing social distancing.
"Guys [are] just kind of bouncing ideas off each other like, 'Hey what are you doing? This is what I have, this is what I have access to,' " Rudolph told Perez. " 'How can I make this work? How can I get the most out of this? What do you have access to? What are you able to do?' "
For Rudolph, Perez explained, the answer has been "a return to the old-school methods," including sit-ups and pushups – Rudolph "recently challenged himself to 250 pushups every day" – and running around the neighborhood or a park.
Rudolph noted that he is fortunate enough to be in a different financial situation than he was before the pros. For that reason, Rudolph and his wife Jordan, who live in the Twin Cities year-round, recently made adonation to Second Harvest Heartland that will provide 82,000 meals to needy Minnesotans who are struggling due to the coronavirus.
The Rudolphs' good fortune also allows them to own home fitness equipment, and [they recently added] Tonal — a wall-mounted weight-lifting system with multiple workouts — to their home gym.
One benefit to glean from the shutdown, Rudolph said, is the extra time spent with his three children, Andersyn, Finley and Henry.
All in all, Rudolph said, it has been fun having them near his workouts, many of which they even tag along for.
"It's been fun, in a way, to try to adapt and embrace that here at the house, whether it's having the kids running around when I'm trying to do cardio downstairs in our little fitness room, or having the kids out in the front yard watching me run up and down the slight incline we have in the street, [or] having the kids come over and sit on my back when I'm trying to do some push-ups ... Oftentimes as a dad in the NFL, you get so lost in dedicating all your time and energy to football, and training falls under that umbrella to where, when I'm training, it's all about training. So to have them around, it's kind of made it fun."