With the First Round of the NFL Draft settled and over, how do the Vikings picks weigh up against the rest of the NFC North as well as the team’s individual needs, and what does this do to the Vikings later rounds? If Slick Rick is anything to go by, it is going to be fun!
The main talk of the day, in relation to the Vikings, was the talk of trading for Trent Williams. Williams (31) is disgruntled, coming off a year off due to illness and wants to be anywhere except Washington, despite this Williams is still considered a premier LT within the league, but the draft capital for the Vikings (who still possess 12 late round picks after a trade back with the 49ers) rather the Cap Space hit and if they can actually pay the player what he believes he is owed. This is because Williams is in the last year of his deal, and is expecting a deal worth around $14-17 Million per year, with some sources quoting the price closer to $20 Million per year. The main issue with any deal for the Williams to the Vikings is this: They need $10 Million to sign their draft class, and only have $13.4 Million to spare. Long story short, the Vikings cannot pay the man, so this deal is probably considered dead in the water unless Harris/Reiff are moved on to other teams with deals easing the financial burden on the Vikings themselves.
Moving from this, the Vikings made solid picks at 22nd Overall and 31st Overall (after a trade of the 31st, 117th and 176th Overall from the 49ers solely for the 25th Overall pick). At 22nd Overall, the Vikings took WR Justin Jefferson from LSU (22nd) and CB Jeff Gladney from TCU (31st). Starting with Jefferson, the player (who was a 0* Recruit out of High School, not even ranked in the top 300 in the Nation overall, or top 50 as a WR) led the Nation in receptions during his final Collegiate Year with 111 (which is an LSU Single Season Record) as well as finishing 2nd in the Nation for total touchdowns. He lined up primarily as a slot receiver, he has great work down the field and, as Vikings GM Rick Spielman stated “Great route runner, great hands, big-time playmaker” with reports also stating the receiver was OC Gary Kubiak’s favourite in the position in this draft, making it fitting that the 22nd Overall Pick acquired from the Diggs trade seemingly drafts his replacement.
Overall Grade on Justin Jefferson: A, Expect to be WR2 Game Week 1.
After the trade back, the 31st Overall Pick saw the Vikings take CB Jeff Gladney. Gladney is a product of the TCU system which creates tough tackling defensive weapons, and in his final year he registered 31 tackles, 1.5 for loss, an interception, and a conference-high 14 pass breakups in 12 starts, finishing his College Career with 146 Total Tackles, 1.5 Sacks and 5 Interceptions. A player who excels in Man-to-Man and Zone Coverage, at 5’10 his height is made up for with a 31 7/8” wingspan he is simply a CB in the Zimmer mould, and is a great addition that lost a total of 2000+ snaps worth of experience with the loss of 3 CBs in the off-season (Rhodes/Waynes/Alexander) and offers the availability to play either Hill or Hughes on the outside and slot Gladney in the nickel/inside DB role where he excelled in college. Overall, this pick made sense, the player is hungry, he fits the Zimmer mould and overall this helps the Vikings absolutely whilst acquiring extra picks to take 12 into Day 2 and 3.
Overall Grade on Jeff Gladney: A+ CB2/1 Easily on the Depth Chart.
The Lions and Packers both made moves in the 1st as well. Firstly, Detroit replaced Slay with the drafting of Okudah 3rd Overall, which is a great addition to their secondary, but not an overall improvement due to the loss of Slay to PHI. In terms of GB, the Packers drafted Heir-Apparent Jordan Love at 26th Overall (trading up with Miami to make the pick). It was almost 15 years to the day (it is actually at time of writing) that GB drafted Rodgers to replace Farve, so the writing is on the wall for the 15th year vet, will he rise to the standard or mess up? Either way, the 2 picks do change the dynamic of the NFC North, but only one has immediate impact as its clear Love will sit behind Rodgers for at least 1 year.
Overall, the Vikings couldn’t have asked for any better, they addressed 2 key issues without over-reaching, and still maintain 12 picks into the last 2 days of the draft. Look out for names such as Ezra Cleveland and Antoine Winfield Jr. as potential picks in Round 2 if the Vikings use their extended capital to draft up.