Well just like that, NFL draft weekend has come and gone. Your Minnesota Vikings made six selections in this years class, adding Jordan Addison with the 23rd overall pick. The Vikings made 5 other picks besides Addison, but also added FIFTEEN UDFA’s after the selection process was finished.
The fifteen UDFAs are:
Alan Ali OL, TCU
Calvin Avery DT, Illinois
Abraham Beauplan ILB, Marshall
Andre Carter II OLB, Army
Jacky Chen OL, Pace
CJ Coldon CB, OU
Wilson Huber ILB, Cinci
Ceephus Johnson WR, SE Louisiana
Malik Knowles WR, KState
Ivan Pace Jr. ILB, Cinci
Jack Podlesny K, UGA
Ben Sims TE, Baylor
Thayer Thomas WR, N.C State
Najee Thompson CB, Georgia Southern
Jaylin Williams CB, Indiana
I believe there will be some impact players of this UDFA group that Kwesi brought in just minutes after the draft ended. Could we find a future HOF player in this group or are these players mostly hoping for a camp spot? Here are the three UDFA’s that I believe will not only make the 53 man roster, but they also have a chance at competing for a starting job.
First and foremost, let’s start with Ivan Pace Jr. He seemed to have been a fan favorite of many, and for good reason! Ivan Pace is a hyper productive linebacker who started his career in Miami of Ohio before finishing his electric career in Cincinnati. Pace brings a heat seeking style of play to Minnesota with his ability to shoot gaps and blow up plays with his big hitter tendencies. Pace has everything we look for in an inside backer. From his great instincts, great speed, and toughness, seemingly his only downfall is his size. At 5’10” and 231 pounds, Pace may have went un drafted because of his height, but his play would suggest an early draft pick type of player. Look for Pace to be in the final 53 on this roster, with a chance to play some meaningful football this year.
Next up, Alan Ali from TCU. The Vikings surprised many people in this year’s draft by not selecting a single offensive lineman, which is one of the reasons I believe Ali will have a real shot at making the 53 man roster. One of Ali’s biggest strengths happens to be one of the Vikings biggest weakness’, that being Ali has been known to handle stout bull rushers up the middle. There are very few instances where we saw Ali get blown of the ball by an opposing NT in his career. Ali also is highly intelligent, leading him to commit very little mental mistakes. Ali comes to the Vikings with high intellect, and the force to stop bull rushers, but there are many places he needs to improve. Ali may not have the athleticism to deal with quicker blitzers, and his lack of athleticism showed in these scenarios last year at TCU. He may struggle against more athletic, quicker defenders in the NFL, but his experience and toughness should be enough to be on the all 53.
Lastly, I can see Abraham Beauplan making this team as well. Beauplan is a good athlete who was typically better in coverage than vs the run. Beauplan is a natural in coverage and has the hustle and athleticism to cover any running back in the flats. He is also a very stout blitzer because of his quickness and strength, but he is also very good at getting around pass blockers using his lateral agility when blitzing. I believe Beauplan will naturally mold into Brian Flores’ aggressive, blitz heavy scheme and has the potential to be on the field contributing when the regular season finally kicks off.
With the Vikings only selecting six players in this years draft, the team may have to rely on some of the UDFA’s to step up into a role that may be bigger than expected. Regardless of where they were or were not selected, we’ve seen some very valuable players come after the drafts. Do the Vikings have any future with their most recent crop of UDFA’s or is it time to start looking into the left over free agent market?