Three More Vikings Rookies Sign Contracts
The Minnesota Vikings signed three of their 2017 draftees this morning: Tight end Bucky Hodges, center Pat Elflein, and linebacker Elijah Lee. With the additions, the Vikings have now signed all but three of their remaining selections.
TE Bucky Hodges
According to Vikings.com, TE Bucky Hodges has signed his rookie contract. Hodges played college football at Virginia Tech. He was originally recruited as a quarterback before making the switch to tight end. According to the Vikings PR twitter feed, Hodges registered at least 40 catches with 500 yards and six touchdowns in each of his three seasons as the Hokies’ starting tight end.
He ended his career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (133), yards (1,747), and touchdowns (20) by a tight end. The Vikings selected Hodges with the 201st overall pick in the draft. The pairing of Hodges with Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph could create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.
The duo will provide quarterback Sam Bradford with a pair of trustworthy tight ends that can each stretch the field vertically and excel in the red zone. The 21-year-old measures in at 6′ 7″ and 245 pounds. Let the Bucky Hodges era begin.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 30, 2017
C Pat Elflein
Elflein had an impressive career at Ohio State. He was named All Big-Ten three times and won the Rimington award for best center in college football in 2016. He was a versatile offensive lineman for the Buckeyes, playing both left and right guard for three seasons before making the move to center last season.
He was widely considered the best center prospect in the draft. The Vikings traded up to select Elflein with the 70th overall pick in the draft. According to Chad Graff of Pioneer Press, Elflein may begin the season as the Vikings’ starting center. The Vikings ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing last season and could use someone of Elflein’s ilk to help lead a resurgence of the team’s weakest unit of 2016.
LB Elijah Lee
Lee began his Kansas State career as a defensive end before he transitioned to outside linebacker. According to Walter Football, he finished the 2016 season with a team-leading 110 tackles. He was named All Big-12 his last two seasons and was an early entry into the 2017 NFL draft as a junior.
The Vikings selected Lee with the 232nd overall pick. Despite not attending the combine and falling to the seventh round of the draft, Lee has enough upside to eventually develop into an NFL starter, says Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Lee has the speed to excel in pass coverage and will likely be asked to cover opposing tight ends and running backs.
With the Vikings’ third linebacker spot up for grabs, Lee will need to develop quickly and add some muscle if he wants the job. He will compete against Edmond Robinson, Kentrell Brothers, and Emmanuel Lamur for starting weak-side linebacker. According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Ben Leber likes Lee’s chances.
Rookies who have NOT signed:
- 2nd round – RB Dalvin Cook
3rd round – C Pat Elflein 6th round – TE Bucky Hodges 7th round – WR Stacy Coley 7th round – LB Elijah Lee 7th round – S Jack Tocho
UPDATED: 5/30/2017 6:30pm:
- WR Stacy Coley and S Jack Tocho both signed their contracts today.