The Vikings Have Their First Confirmed Pre-Draft Visit with a Promising DT Prospect

Sep 4, 2021; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) runs from Northern Iowa Panthers defensive lineman Khristian Boyd (99) in the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is just about seven weeks away, and NFL teams have begun having pre-draft meetings with potential prospects.

This is an important process as it allows teams to further get to know the players that could be on their rosters in less than two months. The Minnesota Vikings have been confirmed to have set their first of these meetings with Northern Iowa defensive tackle Khristian Boyd.

The Vikings’ First Pre-Draft Visit

Pre-Draft Visit
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported the Vikings’ visit with Boyd via a tweet on Wednesday afternoon. Boyd, a 6’4″ behemoth in the middle of UNI’s defensive line, was surprisingly omitted from the NFL Combine invitation list, so the Vikings did not get a chance to see him in Indianapolis last week.

However, Boyd has been hard at work to set up meetings with a number of different teams since then in order to get on the NFL’s radar. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweeted on Wednesday, “Northern Iowa DT Khristian Boyd — a surprise omission from last week’s NFL combine — has seven pre-draft visits lined up so far, including the #Lions and #Saints this week.”

The defensive lineman was a third-team FCS All-American in 2023 for the Panthers this past season, recording 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. In total, he spent six seasons at UNI and recorded 149 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, five passes defended, and a pair of forced fumbles.

Northern Iowa defensive lineman Khristian Boyd (99) poses for a photo during the Panthers football media day, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Boyd developed into a menace as a pass rusher in the middle of Northern Iowa’s defensive line this past season. Among all FBS and FCS defensive linemen in 2023, PFF gave Boyd the 10th-highest defensive grade. His 40 pressures over the course of the year ranked eighth at the position after recording just 49 QB pressures from 2019-2022.

Of course, quality of opponent played a role in that as well. Seeing as Northern Iowa is an FCS school and not in the FBS, they did not go up against many of the top programs in college football throughout Boyd’s career. That inevitably will impact his draft stock this spring, fair or not.

Regardless, the Vikings could certainly use some extra help along their defensive line in 2024. They currently employ just three players at defensive tackle right now in Dean Lowry, Harrison Phillips, and Jaquelin Roy.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) reacts to a stop during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Among that group, Lowry played just nine games this past season for the Vikings after a torn pec prematurely ended his season. Meanwhile, Roy appeared in just 96 defensive snaps throughout the year after being selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Phillips was the only stalwart presence on the defensive line that remains with the team heading into 2024 (unless the Vikings re-sign Jonathan Bullard in free agency).

As a result, the Vikings will inevitably look to the draft in order to fill their depth at the position. Northern Iowa has seen 23 players get drafted into the NFL, including Trevor Penning, who was selected in the first round of the 2022 draft by the New Orleans Saints. Perhaps Boyd can become the 24th.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.