Ben Goessling breaks down the Minnesota Vikings' 2017 draft class.
Round 2, No. 41 overall: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
My take: The Vikings are looking for running backs who can work as running backs and receivers after transitioning their offense away from Adrian Peterson. Cook joins Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon to form a trio of backs who can help Sam Bradford in the passing and running games, and in Cook, the Vikings add a player who averaged 142.1 yards from scrimmage in college. He's the highest-drafted Florida State running back since Warrick Dunn, and he could bring a similar skill set to the NFL.
How he fits: Because the Vikings signed Murray and have McKinnon back for his fourth season, they won't have to put Cook into action right away. But McKinnon is a free agent after the season, and the Vikings can let Murray go after this season with only $1.1 million of dead money, so Cook could get a chance to prove that he can be a featured back before too long. He'll need to clean up the ball-security issues that led to 13 fumbles in college, but he gives the Vikings a player who can help on perimeter runs.
Round 3, No. 70: Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
My take: The Vikings needed help in the middle of their offensive line, and in Elflein, they get a player whose strength and leverage should help him handle big defensive tackles. The 2016 Rimington Trophy winner was a high school wrestler -- just like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer -- and he moved from right guard to center as a senior when the Buckeyes needed help at the position. He has played left guard as well, and he gives the Vikings a strong, young option at the spot they most needed to address after signing Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency.
How he fits: It's worth noting that the Vikings listed Elflein as a center when they selected him, given the fact that they could use competition at right guard for Jeremiah Sirles. They could work Elflein at a number of spots during organized team activities and minicamp this spring, but his addition to the organization could also allow them to move Joe Berger to right guard if they're happy with Elflein's work as a center. Berger turns 35 in May, and while the Vikings used Nick Easton at center late last season, they stood to add another option for their future in the middle of the line. Whether he ends up at guard or center, Elflein could be put to work in the not-too-distant future.
Round 4, No. 109: Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
My take: The Vikings spent some time with Johnson before the draft, and they'll be able to work him into a defensive line rotation that was thinned by injuries last year. He might not be the most effective run-stuffer on the defensive line, but the Vikings need help at 3-technique tackle more than they need a run-stuffer, given that they have Linval Joseph at nose tackle. Johnson, who measured 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds at the combine, can become a steady part of the Vikings' defensive line rotation if he uses his strength effectively.
How he fits: With Sharrif Floyd's future in doubt, Johnson should join the Vikings' cast of options at 3-technique tackle, where Datone Jones and Tom Johnson should see plenty of time this fall. Floyd has a career-threatening nerve issue in his right leg, and the Vikings likely aren't counting on him to be a major contributor this year. Johnson will get the chance to step in and compete for snaps. He was an effective pass-rusher in college, and if he can provide some interior pressure in the NFL, he'll give the defensive line a boost.
Round 4, No. 120: Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan
My take: The Vikings needed help at linebacker, with Chad Greenway retiring and Audie Cole departing in free agency. Ben Gedeon should add immediate depth, particularly in the Vikings' base defense, and he'll probably be asked to contribute quickly on special teams after playing for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. He led all linebackers with 27 bench-press repetitions at the NFL combine, and he tied Wisconsin's T.J. Watt for the top time in the short shuttle.
How he fits: Gedeon figures to be a two-down linebacker in the NFL, as he could struggle making open-field tackles or covering tight ends. But with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, the Vikings are probably set in their nickel package. What they needed was a linebacker who could make plays against the run, and Gedeon will get a chance to compete with Kentrell Brothers, Emmanuel Lamur and Edmond Robinson for playing time in the spot vacated by Greenway.
Round 5, No. 170: Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida
My take: The Vikings brought Adams in for an official visit earlier this month and could look to him to help replace Cordarrelle Patterson. He averaged more than 25 yards per kick return in college, while catching 67 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns last year. He's a bit slim at 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, but his speed (he ran a 4.42-second 40 at the combine) adds a much-needed element to the Vikings' roster. The Vikings still have taken only one offensive lineman through the first 170 picks, but they needed to add a receiver at some point.
How he fits: While players such as Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs could get a look at kick returner, it would help the Vikings to have a returner who doesn't have as large of a role on offense. Adams could fit in nicely on special teams as the Vikings figure out how much to use him on offense. He'll spend plenty of time with special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer as the Vikings try to figure out if he can be a successor to Patterson.
Round 5, No. 180: Danny Isidora, OG, Miami
My take: For all their talk about needing to target offensive linemen in the draft, the Vikings had taken only one in the first five rounds (third-round center Pat Elflein). They added another one with their final fifth-round pick in Isidora, who played right guard for Miami last year. It's difficult to expect a fifth-round pick to step in and compete on the offensive line right away, but Isidora is a powerful guard with good agility who might be able to develop in the NFL.
How he fits: He'll join the Vikings' stockpile of Day 3 picks (Willie Beavers, T.J. Clemmings, Austin Shepherd) who are trying to compete for playing time on the offensive line. Those players, as well as options such as Zac Kerin and Nick Easton, give the Vikings plenty of inexpensive candidates to fill out the roster on the offensive line. Time will tell whether any of those players can turn into steady contributors.
Round 6, No. 201: Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
My take: Hodges could need some refinement, but he's the type of tight end the Vikings figured to target in this draft. He's 6-foot-6, ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and spent plenty of time in the slot at Virginia Tech. The Vikings were intrigued by the idea of adding a tight end who could do some damage in the middle of the field; it's what led them to pursue Jared Cook in free agency, and Hodges could eventually provide an intriguing element to the offense.
How he fits: It's doubtful the Vikings will ask for much from Hodges right away, as the converted quarterback improves his route-running skills in the NFL. If new tight ends coach Clancy Barone can help him develop quickly, though, the Vikings will undoubtedly try to find a role for him. Their tight ends, besides Kyle Rudolph, have mostly worked as blockers. Hodges will likely line up in the slot and be employed as a receiving target when he's on the field.
Round 7, No. 219: Stacy Coley, WR, Miami
My take: Stacy Coley fits the profile of the players the Vikings seem to take in the late rounds: He's impressive athletically, having run a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the combine, but he'll need plenty of work if he's going to contribute. Still, this is the stage of the draft to take chances, and the Vikings will hope new wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell can teach Coley to refine his route-running skills in the NFL, where defensive backs will be much better at identifying what he's planning to do.
How he fits: His straight-line speed makes him another candidate to return kicks, as the Vikings figure out whether he can fit as a wide receiver. Coley's size (6-foot, 195 pounds) makes him a better fit to play in the slot if he's able to develop.
Round 7, No. 220: Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern
My take: The Vikings love to stockpile athletic pass-rushers, and Odenigbo fits the profile. He's 6-foot-3, 258 pounds, but ran a 4.72-second 40 at the combine and tied Myles Garrett and Tanoh Kpassagnon for the second-longest broad jump among defensive ends. He'll need to develop some better pass-rushing moves in the NFL, but that's a strength of defensive line coach Andre Patterson, who helped Danielle Hunter develop quickly in the NFL.
How he fits: He'll probably work on special teams initially, as the Vikings see how quickly he can develop his hand-fighting skills at defensive end. Stephen Weatherly, the defensive end the Vikings drafted in the seventh round a year ago, was on the 46-man game-day roster by the end of the season, and he represents a template for Odenigbo.
Round 7, No. 232 overall: Elijah Lee, OLB, Kansas State
My take: The Vikings brought the Kansas State linebacker to Minnesota on a pre-draft visit, and they'll get a rangy linebacker whose speed and size could help him play in passing situations. Lee is 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, and though he might have to learn how to beat blockers at the line of scrimmage, his ability to cover ground across the field will make him worth a longer look.
How he fits: He'll have to earn his way onto the field as a special-teams player first, and he's the kind of player who could find an advocate in special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer, as long as Lee embraces the role. He's reminiscent of Edmond Robinson, another long-armed linebacker the Vikings took with the same pick in the seventh round in 2015. Robinson could be in the mix for a spot in the Vikings' base defense this year, and Lee will hope to follow a similar path.
Round 7, No. 245: Jack Tocho, CB, NC State
My take: The Vikings used their final pick to add depth at a position where they lost Captain Munnerlyn in free agency. Tocho's long speed is a question mark, and the Vikings will have to make sure he isn't susceptible to getting beaten deep, but he has the size (6 foot) and strength (he was second among cornerbacks with 21 bench press reps at the combine) to develop into a decent press corner.
How he fits: He'll likely have to prove that he should make the roster, and special teams could give him his first opportunity to make an impression. Tocho, the son of Kenyan immigrants, is thought to be a strong leader who is well aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. Even if he doesn't make the roster, he could be the kind of player the Vikings look to develop on their practice squad.