Thursday, October 27, 2016

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The ‘Safety Opposite of Harrison’ has been a much talked about position of need for the Minnesota Vikings since Smith came on board in 2012. We still haven’t found a suitable Robin for Harry the Hitman’s Dark Knight. Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) of eDraft and Cold Omaha is back again this week to chat about a few safeties in the draft who could be a damn good Dick Grayson.

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Rick Spielman building a homegrown contender
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The Denver Broncos tore through the 2014 free agency class like a man who’d just won the Mega Millions jackpot. Anxious for a championship and fearful of Peyton Manning‘s sudden demise, general manager John Elway lured as many big names to Denver as possible, evoking a “win now” mentality in the Broncos locker room.

Certainly not the first team or the last to “hire” mercenaries, the Broncos spent exorbitant amounts of money in 2014 to make their roster the deepest, most talented in the league. That offseason, Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward arrived in Denver, bringing the skills and pedigree the Broncos lacked to take that final step to the Super Bowl.

Elway’s spending frenzy finally paid off, as Peyton Manning and the über-talented Broncos won Super Bowl 50 together this year, earning the greatest “return on investment” that the NFL has to offer. But 2015 is over, and the 2016 season looms in the near future. That championship team is missing key pieces, as the rest of the league has done to the Broncos what they did to them in 2014. Gone are names like Peyton Manning and Owen Daniels. In their place? Career-disappointment Mark Sanchez and yet-to-be-named NFL draft picks.

“Winning” free agency is a double-edged sword, one that worked well for the Broncos, but suddenly spells uncertainty in Denver. Every team attacks the open market differently, which brings us to the Minnesota Vikings, who continue to take a prudent, if sometimes cautious approach in the process.

No, there are no Super Bowl banners in Minnesota, and other outside signings — Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace — failed to make an impact in recent years, but Rick Spielman is quietly building the Vikings into a homegrown contender. Free agents are staying in town, under-the-radar names are finally choosing Minnesota as a new home, and other recent acquisitions — Linval Joseph, Captain Munnerlyn — are contributing in tangible ways every Sunday.

These Vikings may not have names that “jump” off the screen or stand out in the newspaper,  but they’re winning games as a cohesive, well-coached, and tight-knit roster. Consistent coaching, a thoughtful spending strategy, and youth means Minnesota may soon end up on the same national stage as the Broncos — the Super Bowl.

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The last time we checked in on the best Vikings links from around the web, the team’s roster looked very different. Since then, Minnesota has signed 16 free agents including 11 who played for the team last season.

With a majority of their free agent signings done with, the focus will now shift to what the Vikings will be doing heading into this spring’s NFL Draft. Have their new acquisitions done anything to change Minnesota’s priorities for the Draft?

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Safety Karl Joseph commands more of the draft buzz than his secondary counterpart and fellow Mountaineers teammate K.J. Dillon, but Dillon’s size and understated traits make him an intriguing Vikings prospect in his own right. His experience at free safety, strong safety and the “Spur” position (hybrid safety/linebacker), along with his ability to play single-high as well as down low in the box, gives him the versatility Zimmer demands from the safety position.

K.J. Dillon | Safety, West Virginia


Height – 6′ 0″
Weight – 210 lbs.
Age – 22 yrs.

At First Glance

All-Big 12 Second Team.
WVU’s Defensive MVP against Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl.

Projected Round:

5th Round

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