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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Final takeaways from the Vikings’ draft weekend

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings came away from NFL Draft weekend with a cornerback, two O-linemen, two D-linemen, a kicker, a tight end and a linebacker. There’s no telling this soon whether any or all will become key players this year and beyond, but there are plenty of storylines to take away. Here are five…:

The long-term impact of Round 2 will be worth watching

The Vikings stuck with their philosophy of not using significant draft capital to move up in the second, even when there was a run on guards to start the round. It appeared to take the team off guard as both lead scout Jamaal Stephenson and GM Rick Spielman said they had never seen so many interior offensive linemen get picked so early.

The question is whether they will regret either not taking a guard in the first or not spending to move up into the middle of the second. The lineman they did land, tackle Brian O’Neill, may need development time before being ready to play, which could force Rashod Hill into the starting job at right tackle.

It’s possible Hill could continue his development and Mike Remmers could be a very good right guard. In that scenario, the Vikings would have a strong overall O-line and a potential starter waiting in the wings. However, if things don’t go as planned, the right side of the line could be a question mark all season. In that case, we will look back and wonder what could have been, especially if linemen like James Daniels and Connor Williams become excellent players.

Terence Newman may be coming back

As soon as the Vikings picked a corner in the first round – especially with some concerns surrounding his background – the next call should have been to Terence Newman. The 39-year-old DB has essentially been a player/coach over the past few years and his presence could pay dividends with Hughes and developing corner Mackensie Alexander alone. Not to mention Newman was a quality nickel corner and played near 60 percent of snaps last season. If the Vikings don’t re-sign him, they should still keep an eye on veterans on the market who could play nickel and lead the position group.

The Vikings improved their depth at key positions

No matter the drama surrounding the first and second rounds, it’s clear the Vikings are now stronger overall in several key spots. At worst, O’Neill would be a better than average backup to Hill. If he wins the starting job, Hill has proven to be a terrific backup. Also Mike Hughes gives the Vikings a talented rotational player or a potential starter at nickel, which could keep Alexander as a rotational guy, where he was solid last season.

Jalyn Holmes is expected to play inside, giving the Vikings an extra body at three-technique and guard Colby Gossett appears to be a draft steal in the sixth round. Tight end Tyler Conklin also has a shot at playing a role in year one.

The division got tougher

The Bears, Packers and Lions all had terrific drafts. Chicago pulled in a haul by landing Roquan Smith, James Daniels and Anthony Miller with their first three selections. The Packers, who had the second worst QB rating against in the NFL, picked two highly-rated corners in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. Detroit nabbed center Frank Ragnow, making their offensive line appear stacked to take on the Vikings’ D-line.

UDFAs could have a shot to make the roster

The Vikings only had eight picks, meaning there will be a little more room for competition. Last year, two undrafted free agents made the team, there could be even more this year. So don’t dismiss players signed after the draft, especially CB Holton Hill, who was rated by some as a top 100 prospect. Most spots are filled, but there will be plenty of competition in camp.

The post Final takeaways from the Vikings’ draft weekend appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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