NFL Draft 2017

Vikings Find Value After Draft, Sign 13 Rookie Free Agents

The Minnesota Vikings were one of the busiest franchises over the weekend, drafting 11 rookies in the 2017 NFL Draft. The class drew relative praise from the fanbase, but general manager Rick Spielman was far from finished once the seventh round concluded.

On Monday, the team signed 13 rookie free agents, finding a wealth of value in the pool of players who watched the weekend come and go without an offer. The players include:

As Chris Tomasson pointed out on Twitter this morning, the Vikings signed 10 rookie free agents last offseason, none of whom finished on the team’s final depth chart. Spielman “vows to do better” this year, and fortunately, a few names could become viable options for the 53-man roster in August.

Lance Zierlein of specifically highlighted three players as those with enough upside to become rostered contributors: Aviante Collins, Tashawn Bower, and Dylan Bradley (pictured above).

Collins and the Vikings met at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, where he posted fantastic numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.81 seconds) and bench press (34 repetitions). He’s versatile enough to play multiple spots along the line, but Collins is a project at this point. Minnesota made the right decision to spend a later draft pick on a more pro-ready prospect in Danny Isidora.

Like Collins, Bower is an athletic standout. The Vikings value his traits—long limbs, an explosive first step—at defensive end, where he’ll join former LSU Tiger Danielle Hunter. As Zierlein points out, Bower is a player with limitless potential; unlocking those gifts will require a talented coaching staff like that in Minnesota.

Bradley is an undersized defensive tackle who could make an impact in one of Mike Zimmer’s many front-seven personnel packages. He’s built in the mold of Datone Jones, who in his career has seen time as a defensive end and defensive tackle. Though Jones is making the full-time switch to the 3-technique, Bradley has the flexibility to rotate up and down the line.

In addition to the 13 signings above, the Vikings are also hosting former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong for a tryout at this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Chris Tomasson reports, though, that Armstrong is auditioning as a running back and wide receiver, adding further intrigue to Minnesota’s offseason overhaul of its offensive personnel.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. Good list. I like the players you and Zierlein point out too. The guy I’m betting on to make the final 53 though is Josiah Price. Schurmur’s base offensive has 2 TEs typically and it would appear we are going without a FB. You need more than one blocking TE and Price is an excellent blocker from a big time program that likely would have been drafted in a more shallow TE class. With Morgan hurt more than he was healthy last season and Hodges as yet incapable of inline blocking at the NFL level, I think Price fills a pretty obvious need.

  2. Rick said that we would be more aggressive in getting UDFAs this year. Judging by this list and how much they spent, he was speaking the truth. Good haul of UDFAs.

  3. Was there something Hokie going on with VT QB Evans? Thought his size and production was worth a late pick/FA flyer–with his go-to TE Hodges drafted earlier, he might have had an edge.