Everyone has been discussing in great detail what the Vikings should do in the first round of the NFL Draft. Some think Minnesota should go o-line, others think they should get a pass rusher, and still others dread that Mike Zimmer will push for a cornerback. One thing is certain though: there is nothing certain about the NFL Draft this year. Outside of the top three picks, everything seems to be a crap shoot for the first round. It’s going to be very interesting to see how things shake out on April 29th, but with things so uncertain on the first day, just imagine the chaos on days two and three.
Because of this, we can’t grade an entire draft on day one picks. The Vikings will certainly leave some portion of their fan base with a sour taste in their mouth after the first round concludes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a failed draft. There are still nine other picks to think about, including six picks in rounds three and four. They hold nearly 10% of all picks from 78 to 143, and this is what will make or break the draft for the Vikings. Here are some players that may be available in this area:
There were two things that people were concerned with regarding Christensen’s ability: the quality of BYU’s opponents and his athleticism. Christensen can’t really do anything about BYU’s opponents, but, wow, did he answer some athleticism questions at his Pro Day. He had a broad jump of 10’ and ran a 4.89 40-yard dash. Oh, and he benched 30 reps too. His Pro Day was so insane, that is measured as the 19th best athleticism test of any draft prospect since 1987. If Minnesota doesn’t go offensive line in the first round, Christensen is a guy that hasn’t gotten enough hype even after that Pro Day performance and could fall into the third round.
Humphrey’s is another guy that has fallen under the radar. Garrett Bradbury has been less than impressive to this point in his career, and Minnesota could decide to bring in a guy to compete with him at center. Again, Humphrey’s biggest concern going into the draft was his athleticism. It shouldn’t be anymore. Humphrey’s RAS (Relative Athletic Score) was the greatest ever at center. Yes, the greatest ever. Take a look at some of the staggering numbers.
Humphrey is a guy that could use a little bit of polishing once he gets into the league, so teams have been apprehensive. Center is also one of the less glamorous positions in the league, and that could cause him to fall, but should he still be around in the third round (or even if the Vikings want to package a few of their mid round picks to move into the second) Minnesota should jump on the opportunity.
There has been a little chatter of the Vikings jumping on one of the top receivers like Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle. I still feel like this is a mistake as long as the offensive line is an issue. You can have as many targets as you want, but if your quarterback doesn’t have time to throw, that pick is just wasted on someone running routes and not getting the ball.
That said, the Vikings neglected to pick up a wide receiver in free agency, and Chatarius Atwell is a great player to get in the middle rounds. He isn’t the most polished route runner, but his 4.28 breakaway speed makes up for most of it. He would fit beautifully in the slot for Minnesota, and his after-the-catch abilities are as good as anyone’s.
Israel Mukuamu-DB-South Carolina
The Vikings secondary has been in the news a lot this offseason. The desire of the fans for improvement was obviously heard by the front office, and the signings of Patrick Peterson, Xavier Woods, and Mackensie Alexander are proof of that. More recently, though, the unfortunate situation involving Jeff Gladney’s arrest has brought uncertainty to the secondary once again. The team has solid starters, but depth could be an issue.
Israel Mukuamu can provide that depth from the mid rounds of the draft. He is your “jack of all trades” as a defensive back. At South Carolina he played just about every position: outside corner, slot corner, and safety. He is probably best suited as an outside corner in the NFL, but his experience all over the field will be valuable. Unfortunately, his play dropped off in 2020 due to an injury-riddled season, but if he can get back to his 2018-19 form where he intercepted five passes and defensed 10 others in 17 total games, he would be well worth a flyer.
Shaka Toney-EDGE-Penn State
Toney has been known as the “other guy” at Penn State for the past couple years, and that’s good for any team picking in the middle rounds. He is a bit undersized at 6’3, 238-pounds; however, he is uber-athletic and knows how to rush the passer. He consistently has put pressure on opposing QBs throughout his collegiate career and recorded five sacks over eight games in 2020. He needs to be used as a rotational guy for his first couple years in the NFL due to his size, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the Vikings as they’ll have Stephen Weatherly to rotate him with.