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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Where will every Vikings rookie fit in 2018?

By Matthew Coller

Now that the NFL Draft is over and the dust has settled, we have a good idea of what the Minnesota Vikings’ roster will look like next season. The biggest wild card will be where the players selected in the draft fit in. Will they be starters? Depth? Practice squad? Let’s have a look at each draft pick’s most likely landing spot and perfect-world scenario.

CB, Mike Hughes

Most likely outcome:

The Vikings drafted Hughes with their eyes on the future. If he develops like Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes, we could see him as a starting shutdown corner in two years. For now, however, it’s likely that Mike Zimmer’s defense has a quality rotational corner for 2018. The nickel position is difficult for a rookie to master in one offseason, so there is a better chance that Hughes fills in both on the outside and inside. He may also be pressed into duty if there is an injury.

Best case scenario:

If Hughes wins the nickel corner job, then the Vikings have a darn impressive young player on their hands. Not only would that prove he is up to the mental challenge that is required to be a great NFL player, it would also mean the Vikings wouldn’t have to rely on either Mackensie Alexander or Terence Newman to play slot corner. Newman was very good last year, but at 40, it’s a safer bet to have him as a rotational player and Alexander is yet to take a major step forward.

T, Brian O’Neill

Most likely outcome:

Needing to add somewhere between 10-15 pounds and refine his technique, it’s probable that the Vikings’ second-round pick begins the season as a backup tackle who could be occasionally used as a sixth offensive lineman in certain situations. If things go as planned, O’Neill would be in line to start at tackle in 2019.

Best case scenario:

If the former Pitt O-lineman takes big steps under Tony Sparano and adds the needed strength this offseason, he could force the Vikings to start him at right tackle with Mike Remmers moving inside to guard. Quick progress would be a very good sign considering O’Neill has an athletic profile similar to star tackles.

DL, Jalyn Holmes

Most likely outcome:

The most likely and best case are pretty similar with Holmes. The Vikings lost Shamar Stephen and Tom Johnson in free agency, leaving them short on depth at the defensive tackle position. Holmes was an edge rusher at Ohio State, but as long as he flashes potential, he will be asked to move inside to spell Sheldon Richardson.

Best case scenario:

If the Vikings can rotate Holmes into the game regularly at multiple D-line positions, it would give them a chance to rest Richardson or even Everson Griffen in certain situations. The team has expressed wanting to keep the defensive line more fresh in 2018, the best case scenario is Holmes playing a role in that effort.

TE, Tyler Conklin

Most likely outcome:

Pat Shurmur discovered in 2017 that David Morgan could be a valuable run blocking weapon and helpful in the play-action game. Morgan and starting TE Kyle Rudolph are locked into their roles. The No. 3 spot is up for grabs. The Vikings signed Blake Bell last year following roster cutdown and appeared to like him as a mix-in player. Conklin will have to beat him out to earn the role.

Best case scenario:

If Conklin lives up to his skill set as a player with great leaping ability and strong hands, he could have a role in the Vikings’ passing game. John DeFilippo appears to have a great appreciation for the mismatches that good tight ends create, which could mean using all three in the passing game. Conklin could be anywhere from the practice squad to catching 20-30 passes next year.

K, Daniel Carlson

Most likely outcome:

At this point it would be very surprising if Carlson didn’t make the team. Despite hitting 88.7 percent of his field goals, the Vikings don’t appear to fully buy into Kai Forbath. He would have to struggle in order for the team to cut a player they traded up to draft.

Best case scenario:

In a perfect world, this isn’t a Blair Walsh repeat. Carlson wins the job and lives happily ever after as the Vikings’ kicker. Clearly he has a monster leg, which could open the door for the Vikings feeling more confident in plus-50 field goals than they did with Forbath. Otherwise the best-case scenario is that they have a kicker who makes the same amount of field goals and a handful more extra points.

G, Colby Gossett

Most likely outcome:

The Vikings grabbed one of the more intriguing late-round linemen in the draft. Some analysts had Gossett much higher than he was selected by the Vikings. He has above average size, strength and quickness for an interior offensive lineman, which gives him a shot to make the team.

Best case scenario:

The Vikings appear to be happy with Danny Isidora’s cameo last year and they also signed Tom Compton, giving them a solid set of depth linemen but they could use one more. Ideally Gossett would win a spot on the 53 and provide a viable backup option in case of injury. With his physical traits, there is a chance he could become a draft steal, but that’s likely to be determined within a few years.

DE, Ade Aruna

Most likely outcome:

Athletically, Aruna is a freak show. His size/strength combination are rare, but he is a pure project. With Brian Robison, Tashawn Bower and Stephen Weatherly on the roster (assuming B-Rob does not retire), it might be tough to find a spot on the 53 for Aruna. He’s exactly the type of developmental player the practice squad was made for.

Best case scenario:

If Aruna surprised everyone by dominating preseason and training camp, he could beat out the other Vikings backups who have not yet made much impact in their young careers. There is a chance Aruna could flash enough pass rushing skill to carve out a niche.

LB, Devante Downs

Most likely outcome:

With Kentrell Brothers set to be suspended for four games and Emmanuel Lamur gone via free agency, there is a backup linebacker/special teams position open. Downs will compete for that spot with a solid chance to make it.

Best case scenario:

Making the 53 is about the best you can hope for from a seventh-round linebacker.

The post Where will every Vikings rookie fit in 2018? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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