Every year, it seems like at least a few members of the Undrafted Free Agent class stick on the 53-man roster with the Minnesota Vikings. Last season, we had offensive lineman Aviante Collins and linebacker Eric Wilson end up making the team, with a few other members of the UDFA class spending time on the practice squad.
By most accounts, the Vikings had one of the more impressive Undrafted Free Agent hauls in this year’s post-draft signing frenzy. But, which ones have the chance to stick on the big club? Well, as things stand right now, here’s one man’s perspective on it, based on the depth chart for the team and where I think there might be some openings.
1) Roc Thomas, RB, Jacksonville State
If the Vikings want to carry three running backs this year, then the spot on the depth chart behind Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray is wide open. Thomas would be a nice option as a change of pace running back if he can learn to run with more patience. He’s not going to be an every down guy, but in the Vikings’ offense he probably wouldn’t have to be.
2) Jake Wieneke, WR, South Dakota State
We know that the top three spots on the depth chart at wide receiver are set for the Vikings, with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and newly-signed Kendall Wright. After that, it’s a whole lot of “ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” To this point, Laquon Treadwell has contributed just about nothing, and Wieneke could end up being the sort of receiver that the Vikings wanted when they drafted Treadwell. He’s got size (6’4”, 220 pounds) and can be an immediate difference-maker in the red zone given the opportunity.
3) Holton Hill, CB, Texas
Hill would probably have occupied the top spot on this list if his off-field hobbies trended a little less towards Cypress Hill, as Warren reported earlier today. Hill has the size and athletic ability to be a very good cornerback, and probably would have been a mid-round draft choice if not for his off-field issues. If the Vikings can get him away from the drugs, then he could be a big-time contributor.
4) Hercules Mata’afa, DT/LB, Washington State
Mata’afa was undeniably productive in college. However, he was undeniably productive in college as a 250-pound defensive tackle, and that’s probably not going to fly in the National Football League. So. . .what is he? Is he an edge rusher? Is he an outside linebacker? Is he an inside linebacker? It will be interesting to see if Mike Zimmer and George Edwards can find a place for him.
The Vikings wound up agreeing to terms with 17 undrafted free agents earlier this week, but out of all of them, I think that those four guys have the best chance of being with the team in September. Are there any members of the UDFA class that you think have a chance to stick?