The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.
Next Up: WR/KR Rodney Adams
St. Petersburg, Florida native and Lakewood high school alumnus Rodney Adams originally began his collegiate football career at the University of Toledo. Amidst his freshman year, Adams lost his mother in a car accident, drastically altering his career. The tragedy effectively ended his tenure at Toledo, as he was granted a hardship transfer and enrolled at the University of South Florida.
Adams has since dedicated his playing career to his mother and became the legal guardian of his younger brother, Antonio Blount, who was only 16 years old at the time. He spent the next three years breaking off long touchdowns, setting records and developing into the game-breaking talent Minnesota selected during the fifth round. He was named second-team All-American Athletic Conference in both 2015 and 2016 while also setting the South Florida single-season record for receptions with 67 during his final collegiate campaign.
College Attended: South Florida
Collegiate Seasons: 4
Games Played: 38
Receiving Yards: 1,976
Receiving Touchdowns: 16
Rush Attempts: 40
Rushing Yards: 380
Rushing Touchdowns: 7
Kick Return Attempts: 46
Kick Return Yards: 1,140
Kick Return Touchdowns: 1
Kick Return Average: 24.8
Weight: 189 pounds
Arm Length: 32″
Hand Size: 9″
40-Yard Dash: 4.44 seconds
Bench Press: 8 reps
Vertical Jump: 29.5″
Broad Jump: 125″
3-Cone Drill: 6.98 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28 seconds
60-Yard Shuttle: 11.39 seconds
- Lightning fast with explosive burst and breakaway speed
- Ballcarrier vision and decision-making in the open field
- Offensive alignment versatility
- Dangerous offensive weapon that can affect game as a pass-catcher and rusher
- Tracks ball in the air well with excellent body control to adjust with flight path of an errant pass
- Creative, slippery ballcarrier with lateral quickness to freeze defenders
- Absolutely nasty spin move
- Outstanding kick returner with potential to be an immediate difference-maker on special teams
- Skinny, fragile frame
- Lacks functional NFL strength
- Could struggle to release off line of scrimmage against press coverage
- Big, physical defensive backs can wash out his routes and win physical one-on-one situations
- Concentration issues led to multiple “drop slumps” throughout his collegiate career
- Should not be trusted to sustain blocks on outside rush attempts
- Ball security
- Limited route tree
- Extremely raw receiver skills
- College numbers bolstered by manufactured touches
TALE OF THE TAPE
Adams is an electrifying athlete who can affect the game in a number of different ways. He possesses outstanding offensive versatility in that he can line up on the outside, in the slot or in the backfield. South Florida utilized Adams’ talents in a “gadget” role, as he consistently received touches on screen passes, jet sweeps and end-arounds in addition to conventional receiving methods.
Determining ways to manufacture touches for Adams without telegraphing the play is the most difficult part of the equation. Once the ball is in his hands, however, the former USF Bull becomes a completely different player. His outstanding vision allows him to carve up defense who allow him to find space, and once he reaches the opposing defensive secondary, Adams possesses a game-breaking second gear that has allowed him to turn short gains into long touchdowns throughout his career.
He will need to put on some weight and polish his receiving technique to become a “true” wide receiver, but Adams can already impact the game in a big way as a rookie on special teams. His excellent field vision, breakaway speed, balance and instincts translate extremely well to returning kicks, making Adams a great value late in the draft due to his ability to impact the game immediately as a kick returner and potentially develop into a lethal home run threat on offense.
Lance Zierlein – NFL.com: “Tall, thin slot wide receiver with an ability to work both short and deep. Adams wasn’t asked to win with his routes and will have to improve in that area. His competitive nature and urgency jumps off the tape when the ball is in his hands, but his drops and fumbles are troubling. Has the traits to make a roster as a kick returner and fourth/fifth wide receiver early on.”
Mel Kiper Jr. – ESPN Insider: “Adams is a transfer from Toledo who was a two year starter who appeared in 49 games with 29 career starts. Led the team in receiving in 2016 with 67 catches for 822 yards (12.3) and 5 TDs (Rushing: 231 yards and 5 TDs). Adams is a leaner WR that needs to get stronger and become more consistent both with his routes and hands. However, he has speed that can’t be coached and big play ability particularly after the catch and as a returner on special teams that may warrant a team taking a late round flyer on him.”
Walter Cherepinsky – Walter Football: “Adams was impressive at the combine with a fast 40 time. In 2016, the senior totaled 67 receptions for 822 yards with five touchdowns. As a junior, he had 822 yards on 45 receptions with nine touchdowns. Adams could be a nice pick on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft.”
SELECTION & REACTION
Waking up a Viking, feels amazing! #SKOL
— Rodney Adams (@rodney_adams87) April 30, 2017
The initial expert analysis for Minnesota’s selection of Adams was generally positive and optimistic:
Spencer Hall – CBS Sports: “A versatile offensive weapon used in sweeps, screens and as a returner with tremendous speed but development is needed on underneath routes.”
Ben Goessling – ESPN: “The Vikings wanted to add another receiver at some point in the draft, and Rodney Adams gives them a player who could contribute as a kick returner in the short-term. Adams could get an early shot to replace Cordarrelle Patterson, as the Vikings determine how to use him on offense.”
Matthew Coller – 1500 ESPN: “The Vikings needed to add another receiver to the mix, so they selected one who can return, run and play in the slot. There are concerns about Adams’ strength, but he is known for his drive and character. It appears Minnesota is looking for the next Stefon Diggs type. Other players were ranked higher on draft boards, but everyone is a long shot at this point. The fact that he worked out with Adam Thielen might have influenced the pick.”
Mark Dulgerian – NFL.com: “Rodney Adams adds speed to a receiver unit that struggled to stretch the field when Stefon Diggs was hurt. The 28th ranked offense needs all the weapons it can get.”
VT Readers – Poll: Minnesota’s selection of Rodney Adams was fairly well-received by Vikings Territory readers, as the highest percentage of voters yawarded the Vikings with either a “B” (39.32%) or “C” (39.02%) grade for the selection.
THE VIKINGS FIT
Adams joins a Vikings roster that not-so-coincidentally is in dire need of a difference-making kick returner following Cordarrelle Patterson’s departure during free agency. He should be considered a strong candidate to win the job out of training camp and begin his rookie season as Minnesota’s starting return man against the New Orleans Saints.
It is unlikely that Adams do much damage on offense during his rookie season, however, as his skinny frame and lack of functional NFL strength make it difficult to line him up on the outside. But, Adams’ skill set does fit well in Pat Shurmur’s quick-drop offense, as he is long run waiting to happen regardless of whether he receives the ball through the air or on a handoff. Adams, as a result, could earn situational snaps as a distraction that defenses will be forced to account for while periodically mixing in manufactured touches on bubbles screens and jet sweeps. He could also see time in empty sets as a vertical threat.
WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW
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