Saturday, March 25, 2017

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Mackensie Alexander
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer opened yesterday’s press conference with a simple question: “You all thought we were going defense, didn’t you?” The Vikings didn’t, selecting Laquon Treadwell in the first round, but Rick Spielman granted Zimmer’s wish on Friday night.

With the 54th-overall pick in the second round, the Vikings drafted Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. The 5’10”, 190-pound redshirt sophomore finished his collegiate career with 52 tackles, four tackles for loss, and 12 pass breakups in 27 total games.

According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander allowed just 33 percent of passes into his coverage to be caught in 2015, which was best among all cornerbacks in the class. On a conference call with Minnesota media earlier tonight, the self-proclaimed “best cornerback in the draft” exuded confidence:

“I was asked to follow the best receivers every week and eliminate them from their game plan every week and win those matchups. I was asked to play inside and play zone. Whatever the Vikings want me to do, I’m ready for it and I’m just going to be open to anything they ask me to do.”

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I like what Mackensie Alexander brings to the table with his sticky cover skills and his physicality and competitive toughness. He is ultra-confident and highly aggressive with 4.47 speed and athleticism to turn and run with wide receivers.

The Clemson slot corner has long arms and a great vertical which makes up for is 5’10 190 pound frame. He is explosive with great stop-go quickness who will fight hard to disrupted completions. Alexander has good balance and body control who routinely times his leaps and lunges to breakup passes. As his NFL.com profile indicates, Alexander was the fourth-best prospect in the country by ESPN coming out of high school.

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With over 1,600 votes tallied, the readers of VT have pretty handily handed out an “A” grade for last night’s first round selection of wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. We are not stopping with the Laquon Treadwell draft grade, however, and now it is time for you to give us your first impressions of our second pick.

The Vikings stayed put at 54th overall and selected Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Alexander, who is our 16th ranked player on the Vikings Territory Big Board, will join a talented young secondary that already contains Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes on the depth chart.

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No. 11 is in the Vikings' building!

Laquon Treadwell Arrives in Minnesota
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Laquon Treadwell won’t officially be a member of the Minnesota Vikings until the ink on his rookie contract dries, but he is in Minnesota and just wrapped up his first press conference at Winter Park. The 20-year-old, who will wear No. 11 for the Vikings, spent about 10 minutes at the podium fielding questions from the media on everything from his college career to his training with Cris Carter.

“Honored, blessed, and grateful. Glad to be here and looking forward to starting my NFL career.”

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draft diary
Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

(Note: this is a running diary of Thursday night’s first round. We begin at 7 p.m. CT as the draft starts.)

And we’re off! I’m planted firmly in front of the TV with a Dewar’s on ice, and my fiancé is making dinner so I don’t have to move for at least the next three hours. She’s a keeper, that one.

After months of workouts, speculation, and endless mock drafts, the day is finally here. I’ve loved the NFL Draft since I was old enough to buy the annual Lindys Draft Guide with money I scrounged together from mowing lawns. It’s always been my favorite event on the NFL calendar. It’s evolved through the years, and moved from a Saturday/Sunday affair to a three-day jaunt, with the first round being held in primetime on Thursday. This is just fine with me; an event so grand is worthy of the evening lights.

Roger Goodell walks out to kick things off. The usual boos are audible, but mostly overcome by jubilant cheers from the fans in attendance. It almost seems as if the excitement about the event these people voluntarily paid to attend is outweighing their irrational disdain for a man they’ve never met. Odd.

Goodell: “The 2016 NFL Draft is now open. The Rams are on the clock.”

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