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Bleacher Report – Vikings

With playoff hopes slim, Vikings should evaluate young players

By Matthew Coller

Yes, the Minnesota Vikings technically could still make the playoffs and they certainly want to beat the Green Bay Packers, but with a number of question marks on the roster going forward, the Vikings could use the final two games to both give experience to some of their younger players and evaluate them for the future.

Here are several players who the Vikings should mix in more often over the final two contests:

WR, Laquon Treadwell

When the Vikings drafted Treadwell out of Ole Miss, they were probably expecting him to become a significant part of their passing attack, but so far he has caught just one pass. If Treadwell is healthy enough to play, the Vikings should give him playing time – even if they don’t feel he has earned that playing time – simply to see if he can play in the league. At least that would help them assess where he fits in going forward if at all.

CB, Mackensie Alexander

Like Treadwell, things haven’t gone smoothly for the Vikings’ second-round selection. Alexander has only made it into a handful of games after having a strong preseason. When he has been given playing time, the former Clemson corner hasn’t been up to the challenge. Filling in briefly against Detroit for Captain Munnerlyn, Alexander was dominated by veteran Anquan Boldin and hasn’t played much since. However, cornerback is an extremely hard position in the NFL and takes lots of experience to excel. Now would be a good time to get some of that experience if the Vikings see Alexander as a replacement for Munnerlyn or Newman long term.

LB, Kentrell Brothers

You won’t get a lot of attention as a solid special teams player, but that’s exactly what the rookie linebacker has been for the Vikings this year. When he was coming out in the draft, Pro Football Focus called him “one of the most impressive players against the run” in the country. Maybe it’s worth giving him a few snaps in base package to see how he performs.

DT, Toby Johnson

With Tom Johnson out, there is an opportunity for Toby to see some action. Saturday’s game against the Packers will likely be the first time he’s been active during his pro career, so the Vikings can find out whether he might be a backup or role player in the future.

OT, Rashod Hill

It’s surprising that we haven’t seen Hill yet considering the Vikings plucked him off the Jaguars’ practice squad and starter TJ Clemmings has been one of the worst rated tackles in the NFL. Experimenting with the tackle position is tough because you risk the quarterback’s safety, but the Vikings’ O-line has been so poor, it would make sense to see if they have a hidden gem in Hill.

OT, Willie Beavers

Beavers was the highest drafted player to get cut in preseason of anyone in the NFL. The Vikings brought him back, made him active and he even saw the field on Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, his few plays did not go very well. Still, the Vikings used a draft pick on him for a reason. Unless they feel he would be too much of a threat to Sam Bradford’s health, they should see if any progress has been made.

S, Jayron Kearse

When Kearse filled in for Andrew Sendejo, he played poorly, but head coach Mike Zimmer said he believes the seventh-round pick can be a good player. We’ve learned that Anthony Harris is more fit for a special teams role than a fill-in for Harrison Smith or Sendejo, so the Vikings would be better served to see if Kearse has learned anything since he played against Chicago.

The post With playoff hopes slim, Vikings should evaluate young players appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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