At this point, it’s well known that general manager Rick Spielman loves to draft in pairs. Getting players from the same school eases the transition in training camp and allows players to feel comfortable in a completely new environment—which translates into focus and effectiveness. Last year, Spielman selected two players from Florida State (Xavier Rhodes and Everett Dawkins), UCLA (Jeff Baca and Jeff Locke) and Penn State (Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges). The year before it was USC (Matt Kalil and Rhett Ellison), Notre Dame (Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton) and Arkansas (Greg Childs and Jarius Wright).
In a rare moment of clarity, Spielman even told gathered reporters that this was a goal every year and later signed a number of undrafted free agents from like schools (Rodney Smith and Anthony McCloud from Florida State, Erik Highsmith from North Carolina to pair with Travis Bond the draftee, Colin Anderson and Jerodis Williams from Furman, and so on).
That in mind, it creates some very specific potential targets for the Vikings; they drafted a player from UCLA and a player from Louisville. The Vikings currently have UCLA alum on their roster so it may not be as important (both Baca and Locke), but it still deserves a look. Who are the potential prospects from those schools? I’ve listed them below, ranked in order of importance (most to least) for the Vikings (a combination of talent and need).