It has certainly been a disappointing season for the Minnesota Vikings, who are currently 4-6 after going 10-6 the year before with a playoff win.
One huge positive for them though has been the play of their rookies, especially Justin Jefferson who has been incredible.
His 45 receptions are second best among rookies and four touchdowns are tied for second most. His 848 yards are not only the best among rookies, but also seventh best in the league. He became the starting receiver opposite Adam Thielen in week three and has been a tear since. His four 100-yard games are already tied for most in team history by a rookie wide receiver. A guy named Randy Moss is the other one who accomplished that feat.
Very impressive year he is having. The sky is certainly the limit for him if he can stay healthy and keep improving. Having Thielen both on and off the field is among the reasons to be optimistic about him improving.
Fellow first-round pick Jeff Gladney is having a nice year and looks like he could be a very good cornerback for years to come. Third-round Cameron Dantzler has shown some promise as well. Not as much as Gladney but has shown some flashes still. He’s had some rough moments, which is expected from rookies but like Gladney he looks like he could also develop into a good cornerback. He may not be as good as Gladney going forward, but could still be good and it is still very early to tell. Both could be the team’s starting corners for years to come. Gladney already looks like he could be barring injuries.
Second-round pick Ezra Cleveland was inactive the first four games, but after right guard Dru Samia got hurt, he has stepped in and performed well. He was out the last game (ankle) against the Dallas Cowboys, but when he has played he has looked good. Especially given the struggles of the offensive the past several years, it is certainly a positive sign.
Fourth-round pick DJ Wonnum has been receiving more snaps since week three, especially after Yannick Ngakoue was traded to the Baltimore Ravens after week six. He has recorded three sacks on the season and also forced a huge fumble on Aaron Rodgers on the final play of the Vikings win over the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago.
The fact that this team could have easily been 7-3 instead of 4-6 is certainly very disappointing, but once again this rookie class definitely gives this team reasons to excited for years to come.
Rick Spielman has made some questionable decisions since becoming the team’s general manager in 2012, but has also made some very good decisions too especially when it comes to drafting. Yes, he does deserve heat for the play of the offensive line since 2014 and giving Kirk Cousins an extension, but he also deserves credit for this year’s draft class and adding many other talent players since he has taken over.
Regardless of how this season ends for the purple, the future is looking very bright. Maybe the next draft class will also be a very good one too.