Most of the Vikings picks in the up-coming NFL Draft are of the mid-round variety, with eight of their ten picks falling in a 90-pick range between 78 and 168 in rounds three, four, and five. While I would be shocked if some of these picks didn’t get traded, either up or down or both, the Vikings will still likely make a number of picks in this range.
While the top picks will be the most important ones for the Vikings to hit on- only about 50% of first-round picks work out in the end- hitting on some mid-round picks could make the difference between a good and a great draft if they hit on their top picks as well, or compensate for missing on them if that’s the case.
Hitting on mid-round picks is no easy task, however. For example, in the 2017 draft only 19 players of the 120 drafted averaged an Approximate Value (AV) of 5 per season (20 total) in the four seasons since being drafted. Basically half of those were 3rd round picks (10), and the other half (9) were spread between the 4th and 5th rounds. Overall that’s just a 16% hit rate, which is fairly typical.
So, for the Vikings, who have 8 picks in these rounds, hitting (i.e. 5 AV/year average) on just one of those picks would be the expected result. Anything more than that would be outperformance.
I’ve already done some profiles on offensive linemen that the Vikings could take in the 3rd round (Brady Christensen, Ben Cleveland, Quinn Meinerz) so while these are good 3rd (or late 2nd) round options for the Vikings, I’ll focus on other needs here.
So, who could be a few of those mid-round draft diamonds? Here are some realistic possibilities expected to go in the mid-rounds that also fill Vikings needs.
NT/DT Bobby Brown III, Texas A&M
The Vikings defensive line will be better this year, given the return of Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce beginning his Vikings career, and the acquisition of Dalvin Tomlinson. The Vikings have Armon Watts, and perhaps James Lynch, as a backup to Tomlinson at 3T, but could use another bona-fide nose tackle to backup Michael Pierce. Bobby Brown could be that guy.
The DT draft class this year is pretty thin, but Brown could be available for the Vikings in the 4th/5th round, and could be a solid backup to Pierce, with potential to become a starter down the road.
Brown has both size (6’4”, 321 lbs.), length (34.75” arms), and great athletic testing, especially his explosion grade, which is important for an interior defensive lineman. Those traits give him plenty of upside, and with some development could turn into what every team wants: a big nose tackle who’s stout against the run, and can rush the passer.
Of course there is a reason he’s a mid-round, and not a top prospect, and that’s due to his mixed results over his college career.
Interior defender with the size and pad level to handle reps at nose or three-technique in an even front. Brown shed weight in 2020 and played at a fairly high level inside an SEC-only schedule. His footwork and body control are inconsistent, leading to clear wins and clear losses, but he has the strength and potential to take firmer control at the point of attack with more technique work. He can read-and-react as a two-gapper or play on the move with adequate effectiveness. His rush tends to be a little uninspiring, which could push him off the field on passing downs. He won’t be 21 until August and should come in as a quality backup early on before working into a starting role in the future. - Lance Zierlein
Bobby Brown III is an interior defender that’s built like a brick house. He possesses a very mature body that helps him maintain leverage as a run defender on the interior. He’s proven to anchor well and has the lower-body strength to stand pat at the point of attack. Brown III does everything that you can ask a run defender to do on the interior of the first level. While he isn’t a big sack artist, he has the ability to create pressure strictly off of gaining penetration with his natural strength. Playing mainly the 1-technique, he has gained lots of experience against double teams. He’s routinely able to use his mature frame, power, and short-area quickness to create quick wins along the interior. While his value mainly shows up pre-third down, his presence in the middle causes constant problems for offenses when his motor constantly runs. On/off-ness is the biggest weakness associated with Brown III’s game, especially as a pass rusher. There are times where he appears lackadaisical and won’t give much as a pass rusher when he’s shown to be much more consistent beforehand. He turns into a ball swatter instead of first trying to get pressure on the QB. His three-down value will always be a constant debate due to his motor and it leaves a lot to be desired because of the potential that he has shown in spurts with doing so. - Jordan Reid, The Draft Network
Brown has the tools for Andre Patterson to work with and develop into a more consistent defensive tackle, and perhaps get more pass rush from him by developing some additional moves and plan. But he should be ready to play a rotational role as a run defender early-on.
WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford
The Vikings could use another wide receiver threat, and also one that could be ready to replace Adam Thielen down the road. Unlike Vikings’ current WR3 Chad Beebe, who’s strictly a slot receiver based on his small size, Fehoko has both size and speed. Measuring 6’4”, 222 lbs., with 4.44” speed, Fehoko is a size/speed mismatch for most defensive backs in the NFL, and could be even more so as a big-slot receiver for the Vikings. Fehoko’s size/speed is also ideal to be a gunner on special teams.
But as a receiver, Fehoko could use more polish with his route running (as most college WRs do), and needs to reduce the number of drops- more hand catching rather than chest catching. But with a little development, Fehoko could become a legitimate receiving threat for the Vikings to go along with JJ and Thielen. His size and contested catch ability in the red zone could come in handy as well.
Fehoko could be there in the 4th round for the Vikings.
Fehoko has plenty to work athletically, the question is more in his ability to develop his technique.
Fehoko showed improvement in 2020, but had 6 drops in 43 catchable targets. He doesn’t have a lot of experience - around 500 snaps over the last two years - but that inexperience may mean he’s got more developmental upside, if he can improve his route running and cut down on the drops.
Fehoko’s high-end height, weight and speed measurables are automatic eye-openers and with a catch of 40-plus yards in eight of his last 15 games, teams needing speed will take additional notice. However, it needs to be said that he doesn’t always play fast. He lacks the suddenness and aggression to consistently separate out of breaks on the first two levels. He doesn’t always take what he wants from the coverage, but definitely has the ball skills and potential to impose his size on cornerbacks if he adds a little more grit to his game. - Lance Zierlein
Simi Fehoko is a big-play threat whenever his number is called. He has a big frame with an exceptional catch radius for the position. He plays with a competitive streak and is physically tough at the catch point. He has some straight-line speed that has helped him get separation on 9 routes. He has had some drops, but generally shows good hands when catching the football. - Drae Harris, The Draft Network
CB Benjamin St. Juste, Minnesota
You can never have too many corners, which proved true for the Vikings last season after Holton Hill, Mike Hughes, and Cameron Dantzler went down to injury, and later Kris Boyd too. The Vikings added a couple corners in Patrick Peterson and MacKensie Alexander in free agency, but Jeff Gladney’s off-field issue makes his future uncertain, and competition for the backup outside corner spot would be a good thing.
Enter Benjamin St. Juste, 6’3”, 202 lbs., 32.63” arms, 4.51” 40 time. I’d say he’s a homegrown talent coming out of Minnesota, but he was actually born in Montreal, Canada. St. Juste has the traits to be a good cornerback, but like most guys likely to go in the mid-rounds, hasn’t shown enough on tape to warrant a higher pick. In St. Juste’s case, he simply doesn’t have a lot of experience, and could use some development and additional time to learn the nuances of the position. He was one of the best performing corners at the Senior Bowl, and has a lot of good tape- just not a lot of it- only 420 snaps.
St. Juste’s size, length, 4.5” 40 time and elite agility grades give him plenty of good traits to work with, he could just use more time on task to build his technique and understanding of the position.
Intriguing cornerback with impressive measurables and a competitive spirit that shines through at the catch point and in run support. As a Canadian import with limited college experience at both Michigan and Minnesota, St-Juste is behind in terms of his feel and instincts. His route recognition is below average and his change of direction in coverage can be clunky, but those areas can improve with more experiences and technique work. He’s a brute at the catch point, tilting contested catches in his favor, and he has some excellent tape as a tackler who finishes what he starts with form and strength. Finding the proper scheme fit will be important and a move to safety is a possibility. A team could see a noticeable improvement in his play within the first two years, but he’s a developmental prospect with good upside at this juncture. - Lance Zierlein
Benjamin St-Juste is a long-bodied cornerback who shows some promise as a perimeter cornerback. St-Juste isn’t the most dynamic athlete and he doesn’t appear to be a universal prospect, but his skill set and length will be attractive to either press-man heavy defenses or alternative deep third coverages. St-Juste has all of the extension skills and length needed to contest the catch point with consistency and when he’s able to stay on the hip of receivers he’s got ample disruption. Transitional quickness and long speed are not plus qualities and thus St-Juste will need to continue to work on his route recognition and route combination recognition if he’s going to develop into a viable starting cornerback at the pro level. As things currently stand, this is a traitsy prospect who offers some of the “uncoachables” for the position and his draft stock should be reflected accordingly to scheme-specific systems. - Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Positives: Michigan transfer who flashes a lot of ability. Physical, mixes it up with receivers, and battles to break up the throw. Slows receivers at the line with a jolt of his hands, runs downfield, and displays a burst to the ball out of his plant. Explosive and flashes on the scene, displaying suddenness in his game. Squares and wraps up tackling.
Negatives: A bit slow transitioning to run with opponents. Does a bit of face guarding. Slow getting his head back around and gives a big cushion.
Analysis: Off the 2019 film, St-Juste showed a lot of talent and upside for the next level. He was a bit disappointing last year, though a large part of that was due to the way he was used as a nickel back rather than a number one or number two corner. He possesses the size and skill to be used in a variety of systems and comes with a large upside for the next level. - Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network
TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
The Vikings just parted ways with a TE from Notre Dame, and Hale Hengtes just retired, which leaves them a bit short at the position beyond Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin. Tommy Tremble is a good run blocking TE with upside as a pass catcher. He has a 3rd round grade, and this year’s TE draft class is a bit thin, but hard to see many teams picking a TE in the third round, particularly one more advanced as a blocker than a pass catcher, so he could easily fall into the 4th round. He’s a good scheme fit for the Vikings outside zone run game, and has the athletic ability to become more as a pass catcher.
The main negative for Tremble is his smaller size for the position at 6’3”, 241 lbs., but then again this isn’t a huge concern either- especially with elite speed and explosion grades.
Tremble had the best run blocking grade of any TE in this year’s draft class at 83.7, and appears to enjoy that role, which not every TE does. He’s got room for improvement as a pass catcher, and in time could pose a bigger threat in this area. He’s a good scheme fit for the Vikings, but he might not appeal as much to other teams and could potentially fall a bit in the draft as a result.
Highly intriguing early entry tight end who appears to be scratching the surface of his future impact. He’s not the same level of player, but Tremble’s blocking toughness and athletic profile are reminiscent of Kellen Winslow Jr.’s when he entered the league. Tremble is a gritty, capable blocker at the point of attack and will really move the needle as a lead and move blocker in space. However, he lacks development as a route runner and has hands that fail to inspire confidence as a pass catcher. His versatility as a run blocker will allow offensive coordinators to shift him around formations and create favorable matchups in the passing game. If he’s able to simply improve his hands status to average, his speed and athleticism should create chunk play opportunities. He has Day 2 value with Day 1 upside. - Lance Zierlein
Tommy Tremble projects as an F-tight end in the NFL—a flex weapon that will be best served in an offense that doesn’t charge him with playing with his hand in the dirt. Tremble is a plus athlete who offers the long speed and agility to be dynamic as a pass-catcher, but his production to this point has yet to make the leap that you’d want to see to feel confident that he’s going to develop into an upper-level tight end at some point. Tremble has spent his career at Notre Dame caught behind the likes of Cole Kmet and 2020 freshman star Michael Mayer; he’s been the TE2 who is charged with moving around the set or blocking on the perimeter to set up runs and screens to the outside. Tremble’s potential is significant and his effort as a role player has been admirable, so you’ll feel fairly good that Tremble has the right makeup to stick as a developmental player while working himself into a more prominent role as he continues to mature. - Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Which prospect do you like the most?
This poll is closed
Bobby Brown III
Benjamin St. Juste