Organized Team Activity practices are underway across the NFL, meaning teams are inching closer to training camps later this summer.
Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports recently took one last look at the past few months and decided to dole out some offseason grades.
He liked what he saw from the Vikings, to whom he gave an A- grade*, *after Minnesota added quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, among others.
Wagner-McGough, who praised the Cousins’ signing, wrote:
*The Vikings offseason is an unequivocal success because they found a way to upgrade their quarterback situation when they were already a damn near complete team. With Cousins, the Vikings might just be the new frontrunners in the NFC. *
The signing of Sheldon Richardson also gives the Vikings already dominant defense another threat on the interior of the line to go along with pass-rushing aces Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. Then, in the draft, they added Mike Hughes to a secondary that already includes Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Andrew Sendejo. There's an actual chance this defense get even better after ranking second in DVOA in 2017.
Wagner-McGough said he didn’t give the Vikings the highest grade based some questions he believes still remain on the offensive line.
But with a high-caliber quarterback and stout defense in place, Wagner-McGough appears to like Minnesota’s chances in 2018.
So, the Vikings upgraded at the most important position in all of sports and upgraded their already great defense. Why didn't they get an A then? Losing Jerick McKinnon, even though they have Dalvin Cook, hurts. Replacing his 991 yards from scrimmage will be difficult.
Wagner-McGough also said he has questions on how the interior of the offensive line will take shape in 2018, but he added the team “did almost everything they could this offseason to get them over the hump next January.”
The Vikings went 13-3 and won the NFC North in 2017 while advancing to the NFC title game.
Wagner-McGough graded the Bears at A-, the Packers at B and the Lions at B.
Holmes could make quick impact with unique athleticism
Jalyn Holmes didn’t pile up gaudy statistics during his four-year career at Ohio State.
But now that the former Buckeyes defensive lineman has landed in Minnesota, he could be primed to make a noticeable impact.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com recently wrote that while Holmes may not have put up flashy numbers in college, his game could translate well to the NFL.
As far as results go, Holmes’ basic numbers were underwhelming. At Ohio State, he only managed 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks [as a senior].
A closer look appears to be a little more promising. He ranked eighth in the nation in Bullrush Pressure Percentage and 14th in Run Stop Percentage.
*The final game of Holmes’ career – a bowl game against USC – was nothing short of fantastic. *
Against USC, Holmes’ strength stood out. He routinely knocked back the Trojans’ offensive linemen with a strong punch. The 22-year-old also used his length to create room between his body and the O-lineman, giving him control in the run game.
That’s what the Vikings were focusing on when they drafted him.
Holmes, 6-foot-5 and 283 pounds, was selected as an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in during his junior and senior seasons for the Buckeyes.
The Vikings have said they plan to move Holmes to defensive tackle and use him as an interior rusher when needed.
Coller said Holmes’ athleticism could help him thrive early on in his new role.
Since he’s listed at defensive end, the challenge of moving him inside sounds like a tough endeavor. But Holmes routinely moved around the D-line, often lining up over guards. So there’s a chance he could make a quicker transition than expected.