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Which Vikings compare athletically to this year’s top draft prospects?

By Matthew Coller

When it comes to the NFL Draft, most players and executives will agree that too much is made of NFL Combine results. However, teams do look closely at prospects’ athletic profiles in order to draw comparisons with players who succeeded in the NFL.

Using Relative Athletic Scores, which weighs Combine results more heavily in areas that correlate to success at each position, we can see how some of the top prospects in this year’s draft match up to current Minnesota Vikings.

Here are seven that stand out:

Safety, Harrison Smith

RAS: 9.12

Comparable: Derwin James, Florida State

RAS: 9.19

Like Smith, James is considered the total package. He is big enough at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds to play in the box, quick enough with a 4.47 40-yard dash to match up against wide receivers and strong enough to take on bigger tight ends. James ran a slightly quicker 40 and has better leaping ability than Smith, making him one of the elite athletes in this year’s draft.

Cornerback, Xavier Rhodes

RAS: 8.31

Comparable: Isaiah Oliver, Colorado

RAS: 8.62

Rhodes and Oliver most match up in their size. The Colorado CB ranks in the 97th percentile among corners in his arm length, which is the exact same number as Rhodes. Minnesota’s shutdown corner is a tick faster with a 4.43 40-yard dash compared. Oliver did not participate in jumping drills, which is where Rhodes stood way out ranking in the 93rd percentile in the vertical and 96th in the broad jump.

Defensive end, Danielle Hunter

RAS: 9.91

Comparable: Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

RAS: 10.00

You won’t find many humans taller and faster than Carter. He raced to a 4.5 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5, 250-pounds. Like Hunter, he also has long arms and elite jumping ability. The only shortcoming for both players is weight.

Defensive tackle, Sheldon Richardson

RAS: 8.82

Comparable: Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama

RAS: 8.70

Hand is a controversial prospect because he has an impressive athletic profile, but his production left much to be desired. The Alabama DT is above average in height, weight, 40-yard dash and bench press – a rare combination. Richardson is an overall better athlete. He was elite in the jumping drills and quickness drills, where Hand was below average. The Vikings’ DT is also not the same size, but has the same wingspan, 40 and bench press.

Wide receiver, Stefon Diggs

RAS: 5.81

Comparable: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

RAS: 5.99

Diggs did not blow anyone away at the Combine, ranking below average in every area aside from hand size, 40-yard dash and 10-yard split. His success tells you that winning the Combine doesn’t always mean much if you are smart and have great instincts for the game. Kirk was above average in the bench press, which differs from Diggs, but otherwise they have very similar results. Kirk has become an intriguing prospect because of his high production at A&M.

Tackle, Riley Reiff

RAS: 5.70

Comparable: Tyrell Crosby, Oregon

RAS: 6.19

Reiff and Crosby have a few things in common: Neither was a weight lifting star at the Combine, both are above average in the 40-yard dash and neither had above average size. They both play with an edge and power in the run game that is not reflective of their Combine scores.

Tight end, Kyle Rudolph

RAS: 7.31

Comparable: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

RAS: 7.39

Andrews is a little quicker than Rudolph was – by about 0.10 – but they are most similar in height at 6-foot-5. The Oklahoma TE likewise is a great pass catcher rather than a freak show athlete like many of the boom-or-bust tight ends in the draft.

The post Which Vikings compare athletically to this year’s top draft prospects? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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