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McShay: Vikings One Of NFL’s Most Improved Teams

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Following the 2017 NFL Draft, the ESPN analyst likes what the purple has done.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve still got quite a ways to go before the Minnesota Vikings (and 31 other less important NFL teams) kick off the 2017 regular season. But at least one prominent source likes what the Vikings have done this offseason and has them among the NFL’s most improved teams.

Behind the great E$PN paywall, Todd McShay has put together his list of the five most improved teams in the wake of this year’s NFL Draft, and has the Vikings listed among them. In fact, the Vikings are the only NFC team to make McShay’s list, as he has them listed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos.

Here’s what McShay thinks of the Vikings now:

The Vikings didn't have their first pick until the second round, but that didn't stop them from snagging one of the most explosive players in this draft, RB Dalvin Cook, who fell further than he should have based on character and durability concerns. With Latavius Murray also in Minnesota, Cook won't have to carry the load as a rookie.

GM Rick Spielman did a nice job addressing the team's hole at defensive tackle with a high-upside player in Jaleel Johnson. He's one of the most explosive interior pass-rushers in this class and gives the Vikings some insurance if Sharrif Floyd is unable to play again. I also love the addition of center Pat Elflein. He has the versatility to play multiple positions along the interior and has the requisite experience and intelligence to make the jump from college to be an immediate NFL starter.

The Vikings’ first three picks from last weekend’s draft should all have the ability. . .and the opportunity. . .to make an instant impact in Minnesota. We know what people think of Cook’s ability, and Elflein should be a Day 1 starter on the offensive line, whether that’s at center or guard. With the questions the Vikings have with all of their defensive tackles that aren’t named Linval Joseph, Jaleel Johnson has a very good chance of getting onto the field early as well.

It’s nice to see the Vikings getting credit for what they’ve done this offseason so far. It remains to be seen if the team will be making any more moves, such as signing Michael Floyd or another veteran wide receiver type, but Todd McShay seems to think they’ve been making the right moves so far.