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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Which O-line prospects are the best fit for the Vikings’ scheme?

By Matthew Coller

As we close in on the NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings are putting the final touches on their draft board at the TCO Performance Center.

On Tuesday, GM Rick Spielman met with the media. One of his points of emphasis was that a player’s fit in the Vikings’ scheme will make a difference on where they have them rated.

“I think the other thing that you have to be aware of is as we’re going through these meetings, you’re looking at players and there are a lot of good players,” Spielman said. “He may be a good player in a different scheme. I think the communication that we have with the coaching staff and the personnel staff. We sit there and we’re group studying.”

Last year the Vikings selected center Pat Elflein in the third round and made him the Day 1 starter. One attractive part of his game was the ability to get to the second level quickly. Elflein flashed plenty of that skill in his terrific rookie year, routinely finding himself downfield on runs and screen passes.

While Elflein was not considered a physical freak, there is good reason to weigh players’ physical profiles when making decisions.

“You have to be on the same page with the coaching staff on understanding the physical traits,” Spielman said. “What the player is going to be asked to do, whether from an offensive scheme standpoint or a defensive scheme standpoint.”

So as the Vikings look to add a lineman – whether it be in the first or second round – they will look for the players who best fit their scheme. It may be difficult to pin down the 2018 offense considering offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur left for the New York Giants, but Cook will be in the backfield again, meaning we can safely assume the Vikings will be running a zone scheme on the ground. That requires quickness, athleticism, intelligence and an ability to track defenders in space.

With that said, here are six O-line prospects who appear to be scheme fits for the Vikings based on scouting reports and NFL Combine results…

(All percentile rankings from the Combine are per Mockdraftable, clips via Youtube)

James Daniels, C, Iowa

NFL.com one-liner:

“Daniels is a fluid mover with tremendous initial quickness to win positioning on most every zone block he’s asked to make — both on the first and second levels.”

Why he fits:

The Iowa standout ranks as Mike Mayock’s 17th best prospect in the draft, in large part because of his quickness and reach. He ranked in the 94th percentile of wingspan and 95th in 3-cone drill at the Combine.

Watch Daniels (No. 78) get a left shoulder pad on the man lined up shaded over his right shoulder, then work out to the linebacker.

Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

NFL.com one-liner:

“He takes smart angles to his blocks and shouldn’t be limited by scheme. His size, power, and anchor is a big plus as is his ability to swing over to guard if needed.”

Why he fits:

Ragnow was PFF’s No. 1 ranked center in each of the last two years. He dominated the Combine by ranking in the 90th percentile of the 40-yard dash and 99th in the 20-yard split. The Minnesota native plays with power,

Watch Ragnow (right guard, No. 72) pull to his right, stop the linebacker in his tracks and turn him.

Connor Williams, T, Texas

NFL.com one-liner:

Efficient in space and capable of making adjustments to moving targets.”

Why he fits:

It’s unclear whether Williams will ultimately be a guard or tackle, but at either spot he will be well above average in speed. He scored in the 89th percentile in the 40 and 74th in 20-yard shuttle while still bench pressing a solid 26 reps.

You can see his explosion out of his stance on these back-to-back runs (No. 55, LT)

Isaiah Wynn, G/T, Georgia

NFL.com one-liner:

Takes good angles up to linebacker as backside blocker and has technique and athleticism to reach and secure blocks others may struggle with.”

Why he fits:

Wynn played left tackle but has the quickness to move to guard. He is considered one of the best technical blockers in the draft. You can see him get out of his tackle on this run play, then adjust quickly to turn the linebacker and create a hole for his running back.

Brian O’Neil, T, Pitt

NFL.com one-liner:

O’Neill is a classic zone scheme blocker…Good lateral quickness and able to race ahead of the pack on pull blocks and screens.”

Why he fits:

O’Neil is one of the most athletic players – not just linemen – in the entire draft. A former tight end, he ranked in the 98th percentile in the 40 and 3-cone drill. His athletic profile resembles Taylor Lewan.

Other notes:

  • Will Hernandez has the athleticism to play a zone scheme, but played power at UTEP
  • Austin Corbett is ranked 40th overall by Mike Mayock, he ran a 40 in the 81st percentile
  • Auburn’s Braden Smith has the 40 time to get out in space, but is questionable at finding defenders once he’s there
  • Kolton Miller has great athleticism but did not rate highly as a run or screen blocker by PFF

The post Which O-line prospects are the best fit for the Vikings’ scheme? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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