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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Will Vikings fourth-round pick Jalyn Holmes make an immediate impact?

By Matthew Coller

While the Minnesota Vikings are considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they did not appear to approach the draft with the mentality of finding players who could contribute right away.

With the Vikings’ first three picks, they selected players who do not fill immediate needs, rather provide depth this year and star potential down the road. This is quite the change from the 2017 draft in which the Vikings traded up for a starting running back and center with their first two picks and found a base-package linebacker in Ben Gedeon with their fourth-round pick.

Mike Hughes and Brian O’Neill are getting the most attention as future difference makers, but the Vikings’ fourth-rounder Jalyn Holmes also belongs in the boom-or-bust category.

As far as results go, Holmes’ basic numbers were underwhelming. At Ohio State, he only managed 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

A closer look appears to be a little more promising. He ranked eighth in the nation in Bullrush Pressure Percentage and 14th in Run Stop Percentage.

The final game of Holmes’ career – a bowl game against USC – was nothing short of fantastic. Take a look at his best plays below.

Against USC, Holmes’ strength stood out. He routinely knocked back the Trojans’ offensive linemen with a strong punch. The 22-year-old also used his length to create room between his body and the O-lineman, giving him control in the run game.

That’s what the Vikings were focusing on when they drafted him.

“You can’t teach that length, you can’t teach that athleticism,” GM Rick Spielman said on draft night. “I think he was six feet 4.7 inches, almost 280 pounds, and he ran a 4.77 second 40-yard dash on our clocks with arms that almost hang down to the floor. I think that the idea when we talked about him was we want to continue to develop inside pass rush. He’s played base end, but we’ll probably start him inside at under tackle and start developing him as an inside pass-rusher.”

Holmes’ wingspan ranks in the 90th percentile of defensive lineman and his 40 time is in the 74th percentile.

Since he’s listed at defensive end, the challenge of moving him inside sounds like a tough endeavor. But Holmes routinely moved around the D-line, often lining up over guards. So there’s a chance he could make a quicker transition than expected.

Does that mean he will have a role right away?

Going into Week 2 of OTAs, it’s unclear how the depth chart will shake out beyond the starters Sheldon Richardson and Linval Joseph. Last year’s fourth-round pick Jaleel Johnson had an exceptional preseason but only played 41 snaps during the regular season. The Vikings started Johnson at nose tackle in camp and then moved him to three-technique, where he appeared to be much more comfortable.

Johnson and Holmes are much different in size. Johnson is 6-foot-3, 315-pounds, which projects much more as a nose tackle. He may be again asked to work in behind Joseph. The Vikings’ hope may be that Johnson and Holmes become the new Shamar Stephen and Tom Johnson.

If Johnson isn’t in the picture at nose tackle, the door will be open for former Colt David Parry to make the team as Joseph’s backup.

A dark horse for a job is last year’s seventh rounded Ifedi Odenigbo, a seventh-rounder listed as a DL rather than DE or DT.

So while Holmes is a high-ceiling project, playing inside and at a high level of competition may give him a shot to make an impact this year.

The post Will Vikings fourth-round pick Jalyn Holmes make an immediate impact? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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