While the sports world remains shut down for the most part, the annual NFL draft was recently held on its normal time frame at the end of April.
Despite the complications with holding a draft essentially online, the event went off without a hitch and was actually well done considering the circumstances.
The Vikings entered the draft with a potpourri of needs, having lost Stefon Diggs in a trade with the Bills and a number of players on defense including starters Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Linvahl Joseph.
If the draft has taught us anything over the years, you don’t draft for need. You make your team better by getting the best players possible regardless of position.
Drafting for need often ends up in picks like Troy Williamson and Christian Ponder when better players are still on the board.
Luckily for the Vikes, general manager Rick Spielman has learned the art of the draft and despite maybe getting a little “trade happy” throughout the draft knows what he’s doing.
In round one, I don’t think the Vikings had any intention of drafting a wide receiver with either one of their two picks but when LSU’s Justin Jefferson was there at 22, it was an absolute no-brainer. Jefferson had 111 catches, more than 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns last year alone for a team that played nothing but elite competition. He looks the part that’s for sure and should be a great compliment to Adam Thielen.
At pick 25, Spielman shrewdly traded back to 31 and picked up a pair of extra picks and also stayed in front of the Chiefs to take cornerback Jeff Gladney from TCU. Gladney is the kind of defensive back I like, physical, ornery and disruptive. He will join third round pick Cam Dantzler from Mississippi State to form a nice two-headed monster to go along with young DB’s Mike Hughes, Kris Boyd and Holton Hill.
The Vikes flirted with a trade with Washington for left tackle Trent Williams but ultimately probably ended up with a better situation taking Ezra Cleveland of Boise State (many thought he would go in the first round) late in the second.
Williams would’ve put the Vikes in serious cap trouble and by not signing him probably allows us to keep franchised safety Anthony Harris.
DJ Wonnum is more of a project defensive end out of South Carolina, but you know who else was a project defensive end? Danielle Hunter.
Defensive tackle James Lynch out of Baylor – the Big 12 defensive player of the year – and Oregon linebacker Troy Dye – who led the Ducks in tackles four straight years – capped off a stellar fourth round.
From there, the Vikes continued to load up with prospects, and they came away with 15 picks overall.
Obviously nobody at this point knows how these picks will pan out, half of the first round picks won’t pan out. On paper, though, Spielman did a great job of filling needs and getting value with the picks.
The Vikings 2020 schedule was released May 7 as the NFL continues to move forward business as usual.
The beautiful early spring and the opening of local golf courses has been a godsend to many of us.
The Redwood Falls Golf Club has been busy and is in outstanding shape for early May.
Despite the COVID-19 virus limiting for now certain luxuries, there is a new positive vibe out at the club with return of Ryan Fernelius.
This should be a great summer.
The shocking passing of former co-worker Krista Daniels was once again a surreal moment that shows us how short life really is.
I’ll miss my weekly chats with Krista at her tanning salon and her pictures on Facebook.
Fifty-three is way too young. My condolences to her family.
She will be missed.
- Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain