As the NFL Draft approaches, Vikings Territory is taking a look at prospects that may interest the Minnesota Vikings. Since it’s evident the team would like to add a long-term offensive line starter at some point in the early rounds, let’s examine the players who could fit that mold.
- School: Notre Dame
- Position: G
- Projected round: Top 10
- Age: 22
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 330 lbs.
- Arm: 33 3/4″
- Hand: 10 3/8″
- Bench press: 35 reps of 225 pounds
- 40-yard dash: DNP
- Vertical jump: 26.5 inches
- Broad jump: 8 feet, 9 inches
- 3-cone drill: 7.65 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.62 seconds
Vikings Interest: 10/10
- Nelson has been referred to as an “elite“, and “generational” guard prospect.
- Some analysts consider him the best player in this year’s draft.
- He can step in and start from day one.
- Didn’t allow a sack or quarterback hit the entire 2017 season.
- Team captain for the Irish.
- Nelson is the “cleanest offensive line prospect” Pro Football Focus has graded in four years.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 23, 2018
- PFF had Nelson dropping to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 18 in the first round of their second Mock Draft. Here’s their reasoning: Low positional value of guards is a big factor. Regardless… Nelson is dominant in the run game, leading all guards with a 96.4 grade in 2017 and ranking fifth at 89.5 in 2016. He’s improved every year in pass protection, allowing only five pressures last season.
- Much like the offensive scheme that coordinator John DeFilipppo brought to Minnesota, Notre Dame utilizes a run-first, up-tempo and aggressive offense philosophy. The system incorporates RPO’s and features a multi-faceted rushing attack with both zone and man-blocking schemes up front. Experience in Brian Kelly and Chip Long’s offensive scheme could help ease Nelson’s transition to the next level.
- Was quoted at the NFL combine saying “As a blocker, my mindset is being dominant. I want to dominate all my opponents and take their will away to play the game.”
- Gifted physically. Nelson is built like an ox with a strong base and upper body.
- The chances of the highest-rated offensive lineman in the country falling to the latter part of the first round are slim.
- Would likely need to move from left guard to the right side.
- Nelson’s NFL.com draft profile suggests pass protection and injury history are minor concerns.
Nelson is likely a day-one starter with Pro Bowl potential.