The Minnesota Vikings were expected to address the receiver position in the NFL Draft, and most prognosticators pegged them to take a wideout early, which made them very interesting from a dynasty perspective. The Vikings didn’t disappoint, giving Teddy Bridgewater a big-time target with their first pick.
Round 1, Pick 23 — Laquon Treadwell, Receiver
Stefon Diggs had a promising rookie season, and now the Vikings have another talented young wideout. Early in the draft season, some mocks had Treadwell going much earlier in the first round, but a poor combine, highlighted by a pedestrian 40-time (4.68), led to his stock falling. He ended up being the third receiver off the board, trailing Will Fuller and Josh Doctson, something which would’ve been hard to imagine 12 months ago. While there are still some questions about his overall athletic ability, Treadwell has ideal size (6-foot-2, 221 pounds) to be a stud receiver. He just turned 21, and he was the consensus 1.02 pick in rookie drafts this summer.
Round 2, Pick 54 — Mackensie Alexander, Cornerback
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Much like Treadwell, there was a time when Alexander was projected to go much earlier, but he wound up falling to the late second round. With Captain Munnerlyn set to be a free agent after the 2016 campaign and Terence Newman entering his age-38 season, cornerback was going to be a need for Minnesota in the near future. The Vikings selected Trae Waynes in the first round in 2015. Interestingly, Alexander didn’t pick off a pass in his college career at Clemson, but he’s regarded as a big-time cover corner. In a division with Alshon Jeffery, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, those skills will be put to the test.
Round 4, Pick 121 — Willie Beavers, Guard
Guards Andre Smith, Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt are all scheduled to be free agents after 2016, so Minnesota needed to address the offensive line, which they did with this pick. Beavers started 40 straight games at Western Michigan. At 6-foot-4, 324 pounds, he ran a 4.75 40-yard dash and clocked in at 7.75 in the three-cone drill, so athleticism and footwork shouldn’t be an issue. He’s regarded as a developmental prospect who is unlikely to play in 2016.
Round 5, Pick 160 — Kentrell Brothers, Linebacker
One of the strengths of Minnesota’s team is its linebacking core of Anthony Barr, Chad Greenway and Eric Kendricks. The Vikings added to that by selecting Brothers, who was a machine at Missouri. Brothers’ test numbers weren’t very good, but he produced at a high level in the SEC. He led the country with 12.7 tackles per game, and he ended the year with 12 tackles for a loss. Brothers may not have a high ceiling, but he’s got a good chance to be a solid producer at inside linebacker for the Vikings.
Round 6, Pick 180 — Moritz Boehringer, Receiver
This was one of the more interesting picks of the entire draft as Minnesota made Boehringer, who hails from Germany, the first draft pick to never play at a North American college. Because of that, he’s a huge unknown. What we do know is he tested well. At 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, Boehringer ran a 4.48 40, and his SPARQ score is in the 90th percentile. Boehringer is worth monitoring, although he’s a project, but the Vikings’ receiver depth chart is far from loaded.
Round 6, Pick 188 — David Morgan, Tight End
As the top option at lowly Texas San Antonio, Morgan was targeted heavily in 2015, finishing the year with 45 grabs for 566 yards and five scores. He’s got nice hands, but he’s lacking as a route runner. Morgan profiles as a Chris Cooley-type in the sense that he’s a really good blocker and could be used in multiple ways. He also has the size (6-foot-4, 262 pounds) to be a force in the red zone. Kyle Rudolph and MyCole Pruitt sit atop the Vikings’ depth chart. As is the case with almost all rookie tight ends, don’t expect much in Morgan’s first season.
Round 7, Pick 227 — Stephen Weatherly, Defensive End
The Vikings drafted athletic freak Danielle Hunter in the third round in 2015, and in Weatherly, they get another pass rusher cut from the same type of cloth. Weatherly is 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, and he ran a 4.61 40 while finishing third among all linebackers in the bench press (23 reps). He played as an edge rusher for Vanderbilt last year as the Commodores ran a 3-4 defense, racking up 3.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. Weatherly may not make an impact in 2016, but he has gobs of upside. It’s surprising he lasted into the seventh round. It’s exactly the type of Day 3 pick Minnesota has made on an annual basis since it hired Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
Round 7, Pick 244 — Jayron Kearse, Safety
Minnesota was expected to add a safety in the draft, possibly early, but the Vikings waited until the final round, selecting Kearse, another Clemson defensive back. Kearse made 61 and 62 tackles, respectively, in his final two years with the Tigers, and he snatched seven interceptions in his three seasons. At 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, Kearse looks like an NBA prospect rather than a safety. He struggles in man coverage and will likely be a strong safety for the Vikings. Harrison Smith is a pro bowl performer at free safety, but Minnesota hasn’t been able to find a consistent partner for him in the middle of the field. There is a chance Kearse could fill the role, but as a seventh-round pick, the odds are against him.