That season was rough. Sad to see Zim and slick Rick on the way out, but it was time. We need some fresh faces and new leadership. But I figured i'd start off the early portion of our offseason with an article highlighting some of my early favorite college players who could come in and really help this team get back to the playoffs in 2022.
Let me know who you guys are keeping an eye on as we inch closer to draft season. Here we go!
Nakobe Dean - LB - Georgia - The athletic do-it-all linebacker from the champs is the clear cut LB1 in my book, any probably many others. He runs around like a missile on the field and can play all 3 downs. He excels at identifying runs and plugging gaps, and equally so leveraging blocks to get pressure on the QB. Hes pretty darn good tackling in space and while some assignments covering speedy RB/TE/etc may give a few issues, he looks to be able to keep up with most guys out on the field. Eric Kendricks is still playing at an All Pro level and plays a game that should age well into his 30's, but it never hurts to have a young stud to accompany him now and take over the mantle down the road. If Barr is gone, its an even bigger need. If Barr is retained than we trot out the best trio of LB in the league and can keep guys fresh the entire game. While I like Vigil to an extent, he is quite limited and not a gurantee to come back.
Trent McDuffie - CB - Washington - Very fun cornback prospect we could look at beyond #12. Not quite on the level of a Singletary or Gardner, but I think he could be an instant impact player for the Vikings. Ideally we can return Patrick Peterson for another year or two since his knowledge/leadership has been very valuable - while still holding his own at corner. McDuffie is agressive in the run game, has the agility/quickness to hang with most receivers, and can pinpoint passes to make plays on the ball well. He doesnt seem to be bound to any one scheme with his skill. He is a bit on the smaller side at 5'11 ~200lbs, but from some of the play ive watched on him he plays much bigger than that. We have some major questions marks in the secondary, potentially losing PP, Alexander, etc. McDuffie could probably, at worst, see the field from day 1 in the slot. I think Dantzler slowing found his grove again and hopefully gets back to, and exceeds, some of his rookie level play.
Daxton Hill - S - Michigan - Dax Hill has some fun highlight videos. Most of his big plays and contributions seem to be at or near the line of scrimmage. He shoots off like a rocket and blows up screens, he is twitchy and quick to the QB on designed blitzes, and seems to bring with him great instincts. While the cream of the crop in this class is Kyle Hamilton, if Minnesota misses/pass on him then on Day 2 I believe Hill could be a great get. Having a running mate like Harrison would certainly help reach his high ceiling. He's very fast and has a nice frame, though at 6' and less than 200 he may need to hit the weight room a bit and hopefully retain his explosiveness. I'm not very familiar with the safties in this class other than a few of the top guys - so maybe hes a Day 1 guy, or maybe i'm getting caught up in the highlights - but at the very least he is fun to watch and would look good in purple.
Max Mitchell - OT - Louisiana - I hope and pray that our bookends are locked down for the next 8 years in Darrisaw and Oneill. Similarly it looks like Cleveland is settling in at guard just fine and will continue to improve there. C and RG are a bit more of a mystery, but im going to stray from point out a starter there and focusing on getting richer in depth. Mitchell brings a lot of tools and skills you want in a tackle. Hes very quick, but from what i've read he (like 99% of players who come out of the draft) needs to get stronger. With Covid/injuries always a factor it never hurts to add to spots youre strong in. The combo of Hill/Udoh/Brandel isn't overly assuring if they had to step in at tackle for a pro-longed time, and while theres certainly a learning curve and growing pains to go thru, he should have the tools to hold up if he had to be thrown into the fire (a la Brian Oneill) hopefully that isnt the case but come Round 3 or 4 if he's there it certainly wouldnt hurt to add to our young core of lineman. Im not overly-familiar with his game to the point of knowing hes position flexible, such as how'd he translate to guard, but at the very least as swing tackle i'd rest easier.
Just a few to start here. Once a GM/HC is known and we can gauge their style and thought process a bit we'll have a better idea of what to expect personnel-wise. But all of these guys from my early look into the class look to be solid players , at varying levels of need and projected draft position , that i believe would look good in purple.