Best & Worst Of Minnesota Vikings Draft Class

Photo: © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Well I'll be! The Vikings had themselves a nice little class here -- and didn't take a corner until Round 7. Big wins all around.

The Vikings made 5 picks in the first 5 rounds and 7 picks in the last 2, which is an interesting approach. Typically when we talk about adding dart throws in the draft, we want to see them in the middle rounds, where there are still decent hit rates for adding starters. I like a lot of their Round 6-7 picks, but you can't expect even half of these players to stick on the 53 man roster, given the sheer volume of bodies now at camp.

Round 1, Pick 18: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

Round 2, PIck 50: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Minnesota

Round 3, Pick 102: Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State

Round 4, Pick 114: Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma

Round 5, Pick 162: Cameron Smith, LB, USC

Round 6, Pick 190: Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 191: Marcus Epps, S, Wyoming

Round 6, Pick 193: Olisaemeka Udoh, T, Elon

Round 7, Pick 217: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas

Round 7, Pick 239: Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon 

Round 7, Pick 247: Olabisi Johnson, WR, Colorado St.

Round 7, Pick 250: Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force

Clear ideological shift on offense in those first four selections. Let's see if a new offensive approach makes Kirk Cousins a good quarterback!

Best Pick: NC State iOL Garrett Bradbury

A lot of solid, not amazing picks for the Vikings -- but Bradbury has the potential to be the home run when we look back on this group. As was covered extensively during the pre-Draft process, Bradbury's path to success was almost exclusively through a zone scheme, that would maximize his mobility and angles while protecting his weaker anchor in pass protection.

Bradbury should get that in Minnesota under Kevin Stefanski -- while a first-time OC for the Vikings, the expectation is that he won't change the scheme as much as he might change philosophy. The Vikings want to get the running game going, and the addition of Bradbury -- as well as later picks in Mattison and Samia -- highlight that ideological goal.

If Bradbury gets the starting center spot -- moving Pat Elflein to guard -- he can really shine.

Worst Pick: Boise State RB Alexander Mattison (but not really)

I want to make it very clear: I like Mattison. He was in my March sleepers and pushed my Top-10 for running backs. I think he's a fun alternative to Dalvin Cook for the Vikings, who -- as we said -- want to pound the rock.

But in a draft with good value, measured picks, and smart value hunting...I'm gonna highlight the slight reach for a backup as the worst pick -- even though the player and the fit both appeal to me!

For a borderline Top-100 pick, how many touches are we getting Mattison? He isn't more dynamic than Cook as a receiver or an outside runner, so 8-10? And that's assuming no contributions from Michael Boone, who impressed last season, and UDFA addition Ameer Abdullah. This just isn't good value, I'm afraid.

Best Day 3 Pick: Oregon WR Dillon Mitchell

The Vikings have the best duo in the league in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs (in that order, mind you). But they were thirsting for WR depth, with the limited skill set of Laquon Treadwell (who's fifth-year option was denied) and camp buzz of Chad Beebe their WR3 and 4, respectively.

Still with two elite starters, and with a good TE addition in Smith, I did appreciate that they decided to wait out the market and attack the bargain bin with seventh-rounders, and I love both selections: Olabisi Johnson and Dillon Mitchell are both NFL players.

Mitchell is the most exciting, with tremendous suddenness and footwork in his routes and after the catch. Mitchell isn't the cleanest when he addresses the football, and isn't a great downfield threat because of his struggles tracking the football. But as an underneath threat from the slot, he could carve out a role on game day.

Draft Grade: A-

Quality selections at positions of need all over the class here, with potentially great value selections in Samia, Watts, and Mitchell. The Vikigns grabbed a ton of players I like, at or after I liked them, and deserve a strong grade accordingly.


Written By:

Benjamin Solak

Director of Special Projects

Director of Special Projects and Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast. The 3-Wide Raven.

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