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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Five undrafted free agent signees who could make the Vikings’ 53-man roster

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that they added 17 undrafted free agents. Last year, Tashawn Bower and Aviante Collins made the team as rookies after going undrafted. This year, there could be even more opportunities for UDFAs after the Vikings only used eight total draft picks. Here are five players who are either a unique prospect or play a position where there will be a camp battle for a depth spot…

Holton Hill, CB, Texas

Why he could make the team:

Hill would have been drafted if not for major concerns about his character. Hill was suspended by the Longhorns this year for violating team rules. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just a 48.1 QB rating on throws in his direction. He is also big at 6-foot-3 and an aggressive tackler. The Vikings have five cornerbacks who are set in stone to make the roster – which may be all Mike Zimmer chooses to keep – but the door is open for one more if Hill can adapt quickly to the NFL.

NFL.com draft profile:

“Hill has the size, strength and athletic ability that teams covet at cornerback, but his maturity issues will force teams to have early conversations about whether or not he will be on their board. Hill made tremendous strides as a cover man this year and has the potential to take yet another big step forward once he trusts his footwork and becomes less grabby. His instincts and physicality in run support could allow teams to consider moving him to safety at some point. If Hill runs well at the Combine, that could override potential maturity issues.”

Watch Holton Hill:

Hercules Mata’afa, LB, Washington State

Why he could make the team:

With Emmanuel Lamur gone in free agency and Kentrell Brothers serving a four-game suspension, Mata’afa has a shot to earn a backup role behind Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and lesser-used Ben Gedeon. Mata’afa was rated as Pro Football Focus’s 63rd overall prospect, so it was a surprise to see him go underrated, but he is on the light side for a DE and might not be quick enough to make it as a full-time linebacker. If Mata’afa stands out on special teams, the door could be open for him to land a spot.

NFL.com draft profile:

“Mata’afa is a challenge to project based on the fact that his tape features him as an interior lineman who won with quickness when matched against players who were 50-70 pounds heavier than he was. He has the size of a 3-4 outside linebacker but may lack the athletic traits and skill level as a rusher to fit right in. His motor and desire give him a chance to become a high-end special teams star and teams might be wise to utilize Mata’afa as an interior rusher in sub-packages.”

Watch Herculaes Mata’afa

Roc Thomas, RB, Jacksonville State

Why he could make the team:

Thomas averaged over six yards per carry in back-to-back seasons at JSU and scored 20 rushing touchdowns over the last two years. Right now, Mack Brown is penciled in as the No. 3 RB behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, but Thomas and fellow UDFA Mike Boone will have a shot to unseat Brown if they can stand out in camp.

NFL.com draft profile:

“Thomas is a change of pace back with plus athletic ability and agility, who can be too eager to turn every run into a big play. He will need to run with better patience and discipline to keep running back coaches from staying in his face. Thomas is able to create yardage through burst, elusiveness and yards after contact, but he lacks consistency from run to run.”

Watch Roc Thomas:

Tray Matthews, S, Auburn

Why he could make the team:

The Vikings’ starters at safety and No. 3 are set in stone: Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Anthony Harris. Beyond that, former seventh-round pick Jayron Kearse will have to have a solid camp to show he still belongs. Kearse became a quality punt gunner last year – that helps his cause – but if the Vikings are looking for a touch more depth in the secondary, Matthews and Tulane’s Trevon Mathis could give him a run for the spot.

NFL.com draft profile:

“Matthews has good size and has proven to be fairly effective in his duties in run support. Matthews was kicked out of Georgia during his freshman season year double dipping into scholarship stipends, but scouts say he has matured and grown at Auburn. He looks a little tight in his man coverage responsibilities despite his impressive athletic testing. Matthews’ size, leadership and toughness give him a chance to compete for a combo safety role in the league.”

Watch Tray Matthews:

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Why he could make the team:

There will be lots of competition at wide receiver. The Vikings signed former Giant Tavarres King, but they did not draft a receiver. With Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell and Kendall Wright locked in, it appears that Stacy Coley and a handful of UDFAs will battle for one spot. Badet never fully fulfilled his potential, but he ran a blazing fast 40 at the Combine and was a deep threat for Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma, giving him a shot to translate quickly and show off his speed at camp.

NFL.com draft profile:

“Badet is a better athlete than receiver and Oklahoma made attempts to get him involved with sweeps and run-after-catch plays. Badet has kick return experience but isn’t considered a game-breaker in that area. Badet tested exceptionally well which will definitely get the attention of NFL evaluators, but his tape doesn’t offer enough.”

The post Five undrafted free agent signees who could make the Vikings’ 53-man roster appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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