AnalysisNFL Draft 2017

Instant Analysis: Rodney Adams Brings Speed to Offense and Special Teams

Rodney Adams


Height: 6’1″

Weight: 189 lbs.

Arm Length: 32″

Hand Size: 9″


Minnesota lost a lot of speed from its receiving corps this offseason as Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson departed for Oakland and Carolina, respectively.

General manager Rick Spielman’s efforts to replenish that lost speed include using a fifth-round pick on former South Florida wide receiver Rodney Adams. The 6’1″, 189-pound speedster led his team in all receiving categories in 2016.

Adams runs routes and gobbles up yards after catch very fluidly and effortlessly. He especially excels at the line of scrimmage, showing the quickness to evade jams at the snap. He was largely used as a receiver at USF, but he often caught screens and took reverse handoffs that showcased his shiftiness in space. He’s a good bet to win one-on-one battles with would-be tacklers.

Adams’ size is his biggest knock. He possesses a thin frame that he was able to get away with at middle-tier Division I competition. But at the NFL level with much thicker, stronger defensive backs, Adams will struggle in contested catch situations. That small frame also hampers Adams as a run blocker.

Ball security is also a concern with Adams. He fumbled five times on 90 offensive touches in the 2016 season and produced a high drop rate his sophomore season (2014).

Scheme Fit

Adams will become a gadget-type player in the NFL, similar to what Cordarrelle Patterson did in Minnesota last season. Though how big that role winds up being is yet to be determined.

Adams’ footwork and route running are slightly better than Patterson’s and therefore give him some potential as a slot guy. However, Patterson’s ability with the ball in his hands and the extra 25 pounds he has make Adams a downgrade in the “gadget” role for the Vikings.

The Vikings also don’t currently have a niche “burner” on the roster, or a guy that can just fly past defensive backs for a bomb from Sam Bradford. Adams has the speed (4.44 40-yard dash) to beat many defensive backs on a 9 route.


Minnesota met with Adams a couple of times, and he even worked out with Adam Thielen in preparation for the draft. Reviews from those engagement clearly were enough to warrant a fifth-round pick.

Training camp will largely determine his role in Minnesota, but it’s encouraging that his style of play is vastly different in comparison to the Vikings’ other project wide receiver in Laquon Treadwell.

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Drew Mahowald

Drew Mahowald is a student at Saint John's University (MN) majoring in Media Communication. He proclaims himself as the number one fan of Little Caesars pizza and Jim Kleinsasser. The first Vikings game Drew remembers watching is the 41-0 blowout loss to the Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship game. Despite this, he has developed a deep knowledge and passion for the team. When he isn't writing about the Vikings, Drew is usually out golfing with friends or eating Little Caesar's pizza. You can find more of his work at, the SB Nation affiliate Minnesota Timberwolves blog, or on Twitter at @DrewMahowald.

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