Friday, July 29, 2016

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With the 228th selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, their first of the seventh round, the Vikings selected another offensive lineman.

Alabama tackle Austin Shepherd out of Alabama joins T.J. Clemmings and Tyrus Thompson as an apparent effort to bolster the offensive line in the later hours of the 2015 NFL Draft.

At 6′ 4″ and 325 pounds, Shepherd was a two year starter in college, replacing D.J. Fluker. His somewhat limited athletic ability means he will likely slide inside and be a potential contributor at the guard position.

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With their second pick of the sixth round, the Minnesota Vikings selected defensive tackle B.J. Dubose out of Louisville.

At 6′ 4″ and 284 pounds, Dubose enters the NFL with a lot of people noticing his strength, versatility, and knack for sniffing out the run. In Mike Zimmer’s defense, it actually wouldn’t be overly surprising to see him play left defensive end in the base package, and then perhaps rotating to the middle on passing downs.

Dubose didn’t become a starter until his senior year, so the prevailing theory here is going to be that Mike Zimmer feels he can coach this kid up and that he is a prospect with nowhere to go but up.

The Vikings were in need of some depth along the defensive line and they now have some interesting additions in Dubose and third round selection Danielle Hunter.

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In the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings added their seventh rookie to their roster by selecting offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson out of Oklahoma.

Tyrus Thompson is tagged as an athletic left tackle prospect that is inconsistent enough to see himself thought of as nothing more than a Day Three prospect. At 6′ 5″ and 324 pounds, though, he certainly has the appearance of a prototypical NFL tackle.

Some have called his effort and character into question prior to the Draft, which makes him the first Vikings selection of the year with these types of concerns.

For his size, Thompson is agile and quick, resulting in a blocker that can be effective all the way to the second level. His athleticism also makes him a competent pass blocker that causes rushers to struggle getting past him.

The struggling starter Matt Kalil tops the left tackle depth chart, but Thompson seems likely to replace Antonio Richardson as the primary backup. Paired with T.J. Clemmings, the Vikings have now added two offensive linemen on Day Three of the NFL Draft.

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The Vikings finally opted for a wide receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft after disappointing a great many fans by passing on DeVante Parker in the first round.

The receiver they selected in the fifth round with the 146th pick was Maryland wide out Stefon Diggs.

His size of 6′ 0″ and 195 pounds, combined with his strength, is one of the biggest knocks on the kid. However, he projects as a YAC-specialist in the slot and could provide plenty of potential on special teams. He is known for solid route running, good fundamentals, and an ability to gain separation and then do his best work after the catch.

Injuries are a concern with Diggs and he was also suspended for one game after a pre-game altercation against Penn State.

He seems quite likely to begin his career firmly behind Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jarius Wright on the Vikings depth chart.

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Somewhat predictably, after a slew of compensatory picks that couldn’t be traded played out, Rick Spielman traded the top pick in the fifth round.

Spielman traded away the 137th pick in exchange for the 146th pick (traded back nine spots) and picked up an extra sixth rounder (#185) which completes Rick Spielman’s goal of accumulating 10 picks in this year’s Draft.

With their next pick, number 143, The Vikings selected tight end MyCole Pruitt out of SIU.

Pruitt was the top performer for his positional group in every single NFL Combine drill, with bench press being the lone exception. At 6′ 2″ and 251 pounds, Pruitt has used his sure hands, blocking abilities, and football intelligence to climb into the conversation for valuable mid-round prospects.

There are some concerns about Pruitt’s on-field effort, but he fits this pattern of “coachable” players that need work and seem to be catching the eye of the Vikings in this Draft.

Pruitt joins a competitive group behind Kyle Rudolph that includes Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford, and Brandon Bostick.

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