Vikings Will Reportedly Meet with Gophers Standout
The Minnesota Vikings have drafted 20 alumni from the University of Minnesota in franchise history, and the organization will reportedly meet with a man this week who could become the 21st.
The meeting will take place with Boye Mafe, an EDGE rusher from the Gophers who played 31 collegiate games. There, he tallied 15 sacks in four years, along with 19.5 tackles for loss. Mafe also had a 16% pass-rush win rate, better than highly-touted draft prospects like Jermaine Johnson II (13%) and Travon Walker (10%).
The Vikings aren’t in panic mode for EDGE rushers — the team employs Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith as starters — but could stand to get a little deeper for pressure merchants on the depth chart. After the top-heaviness of Hunter and Smith, Minnesota has D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones II, Janarius Robinson, and Kenny Willekes on the roster.
So, to prepare for the future, Mafe-to-Minnesota checks out. Teams like the Buffalo Bills, a bonafide Super Bowl contender, have oodles of pass rushers, including Gregory Rousseau, Von Miller, AJ Epenesa, Boogie Basham, and Shaq Lawson. Meanwhile, the Vikings showcase Hunter and Smith and several hopeful-maybes on the depth chart.
Mafe should be attainable in the 2nd Round of this month’s draft, whereas other defenders like Kayvon Thibodeaux and the aforementioned Johnson and Walker hog the spotlight. In some mock drafts, Mafe sneaks into the back half of the 1st Round, but those circumstances aren’t overly prevalent.
The Draft Network affirms Mafe “offers great athleticism on the edge and his flashes of effortless movement skills in space are an easy sell when projecting his pro game to the next level.”
Draft aficionado Josh Frey from VikingsTerritory opined on Mafe’s scouting report:
“This is one of the more loaded classes for EDGE rushers in recent memory, and as a result, Boye Mafe gets tossed to the side by many mock drafters. That said, his freakish athletic talent would make him at least a second-round selection in just about any other draft, so he should be considered a prospect with one of the higher upsides in the 2022 draft.”– Josh Frey
If selected by the Vikings, Mafe would be the first Gopher chosen in the draft by the Vikings since Nate Triplett in 2010.
Mafe will turn 24 years old during the middle of his rookie season, a number higher than most acclaimed draft picks.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).