While many people have expressed a great deal of disappointment in the Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 draft class. . .and with good reason. . .it might be coming time to admit that Rick Spielman and company pretty much killed it with the draft class of 2015.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com did a re-draft of 2015, now that we have two years of hindsight to grade everyone on, and there are three prominent members of the purple and gold that appear in that class.
For the first one, we get to look right up towards the top of the draft board, where we find defensive end Danielle Hunter being selected at #3 overall in this re-draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That makes Hunter the first defensive player off the board in this re-draft, and the only two players that went ahead of him were the two players that went #1 and #2 overall in the actual 2015 Draft. . .quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.
As Zierlein points out, that’s a pretty impressive jump for Hunter, who went to the Vikings with the 88th overall pick in 2015.
The next member of the Vikings is at #16 overall, which has the Houston Texans grabbing linebacker Eric Kendricks. Kendricks was the Vikings’ second round pick in 2015, being taken at #45 overall.
Lastly, we find wide receiver Stefon Diggs making an appearance in this re-draft, and his jump up. . .at least in terms of draft position. . .is even more impressive than Hunter’s leap to #3 overall. Diggs, who was taken in the fifth round in 2015 by Minnesota (#146 overall), leaps all the way into the first round to be selected at #24 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.
Minnesota’s own first-round pick, cornerback Trae Waynes, did not appear in the first round of this re-draft. Zierlein has the Vikings tabbing a cornerback in the re-do, but he has them taking Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby, who would up going to the Buffalo Bills in Round 2. Still, Waynes hasn’t been the flop that a lot of people have made him out to be, and there’s plenty of time for him to develop.
But, even if you consider Waynes a misfire, it’s starting to look like the draft class of 2015 is going to be an awfully solid one for the Vikings for a long time to come.