The Minnesota Vikings open their doors to a slew of rookies this morning as part of the team’s three-day minicamp. Head coach Mike Zimmer will get a hands-on look at draft picks like Mackensie Alexander and Kentrell Brothers, as well as tryout hopefuls such as NDSU punter Ben LeCompte.
While the weekend is an opportunity for drafted players to make a positive first impression on the Vikings, it’s also a chance for “walk on” prospects to earn their shot in Minnesota. They’ll be on the field, front-and-center of Vikings coaches for the first time in their young careers.
Today, then, marks the end of Draft Season and the beginning of the “real” offseason in Minnesota. To officially close the door on what’s been an exciting past few months, I’ve asked the team at Vikings Territory to choose their favorite Vikings draft pick of 2016. Sure, a few names will rise to the top, but the answers may surprise you.
Who is your favorite Vikings draft pick of 2016?
Adam W.: Mackensie Alexander, CB
Close seconds, for me, are the first selection (Laquon Treadwell) and the last selection (Jayron Kearse) for obvious reasons. However, my favorite pick was their only pick during Day Two of the 2016 NFL Draft.
By selecting Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander, I glean that Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer are committed to me not having to watch terrible secondaries take the field year in and year out for my Minnesota Vikings… and after the decade I witnessed previously, I sure do appreciate that.
Cornerback was not a perceived need for the Vikings, but you can never have enough good ones, and in Alexander I think the Vikings got a great one. His confidence and personality were rumored to scare some NFL teams off leading up to the Draft, but in just a few short days he has quickly become one of my favorite Vikings. His touching ESPN feature about his upbringing, the video showing his genuine excitement about being drafted by the Vikings, and then the awesome story of him already giving back have all been a pleasure to watch and read since last weekend.
The Vikings got a top-15 talent in the second round, a true blanket corner, and he seems to have a whole lot of heart. I can dig it.
Adam P.: Mackensie Alexander, CB
He may not have an immediate impact right away, but Alexander could turn out to be one of the best steals in draft history. His lack of turnovers in college were not due to a poor skill set, but rather, opposing quarterbacks not wanting to throw in his direction.
When passes did come flying his way, Alexander allowed a completion percentage of less than 50 percent. What once seemed like disaster a few seasons ago, the Vikings defensive backfield now seems on its way to becoming one of the best in the league.
Carl: Mackensie Alexander, CB
The Vikings landed a first-round talent and possibly the best man-to-man cover corner in the draft late in the second-round. Mike Zimmer now has another top-tier talent to team under first-round picks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. In today’s pass-first NFL schemes, teams need three shutdown corners to succeed. Alexander is a mechanically sound cover guy with loads of upside. He has light feet and explosive stop-and-go quickness with the speed to turn and run with anyone in the NFL. Watching Zimmer develop these three young cornerbacks will certainly be fun to keep an eye on over the coming years.
Sam: Moritz Boehringer, WR
Yes, I know, and I don’t care.
I’d been hoping for Laquon Treadwell for months, and am legitimately excited he was the first round selection, but the fact that the team took a flier on Boehringer in the sixth round warms my heart.
It’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition, it’s a great story, and it’s an outside the box pick. In my lifetime, the Vikings haven’t been afraid to take chances (Moss, Favre, etc.), even if those chances eventually blew up in their faces in the end (Moss, Favre, etc.). And I like that. No matter what, I like the bold moves that grab headlines, because sports are better when the circus is in town.
This one might be a dud, but it’s a sixth round draft pick; sixth rounders are allowed to be duds. The ceiling here is much higher—and much more interesting—than for another outside linebacker from Southern Illinois. Kudos for the team for not overthinking it.
Now, we need a nickname for this guy, stat.
Nik Edlund, Draft Season: Laquon Treadwell, WR
Who was my favorite Vikings draft pick this year? That’s easy. Laquon Treadwell.
Treadwell is a player I never really thought the Vikings would have a shot at drafting when the 2016 Draft Season was in it’s infancy back in January. But as we got closer and closer to the Draft, and concerns came out about his knee and overall speed, I soon began cautiously believing it could be a reality.
I wanted the Vikings to get a big bodied, physical receiver since the minute the 2015 season ended in that gut-wrenching loss to the Seahawks. I wanted a guy who could go up and fight for a ball, even if the throw wasn’t all that on target by Teddy. I liked Doctson heading into the Draft, but he’s a bit more thinly built than Treadwell and I worried how is body would hold up over a 16-game schedule.
So “Tready” was clearly my target. As the Draft began rolling along, I was feeling pretty good. The first pick that worried me was the Browns, but they took Coleman. I couldn’t believe the Texans moved up for Fuller, but I knew they weren’t targeting a big receiver. After the Redskins took Doctson, I knew Treadwell would be our pick. I was a little worried as the commissioner walked out, as you just never know what will happen. But then he said the words, and Treadwell was a Viking. He will fill that role of a big possession receiver, and his above average run blocking will also be a huge bonus to our run heavy attack. He truly is a perfect fit for the Purple, and I have big expectations for his career.
Matt Falk, Draft Season: Laquon Treadwell, WR
Sure it’s the easy answer, but it is also the right one. Treadwell was a gift at pick 23 and should step in Day 1 as a starting wide receiver opposite Diggs. He brings his big body and ability to snap the ball from defenders, something this offense has lacked for years. Viking fans were on pins and needles for the first 22 picks of Round 1 as we watched a handful of trades and teams who were in need of a receiver pass on the Ole Miss receiver. While Minnesota got some nice pieces in Round 2 in Alexander and Round 5 in Brothers, in the long run, the shiny new receiver who will wear #11 gets my vote for best overall pick.