Pay Attention to 1 Undrafted Vikings Rookie

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Minnesota’s 2024 draft class will be crucial for the organization’s future; developing the two first-rounders is essential. Alabama’s defender Dallas Turner and Michigan’s quarterback J.J. McCarthy have the talent to be franchise changers but must be coached up to reach their potential. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s third group of rookies will be evaluated based on their future.

Pay Attention to 1 Undrafted Vikings Rookie

Pay Attention to 1 Undrafted Vikings Rookie
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The first-rounders are always the top attractions, but building a championship roster requires some contributors later in the draft, perhaps even in the undrafted pool. Adofo-Mensah selected cornerback Khyree Jackson in the fourth round. The college journeyman could claim a role early in his career with the roles in the backfield up for grabs, and he will be challenged by fellow rookie Dwight McGlothern.

The latter doesn’t have a similar draft pedigree; he went undrafted, and all 32 teams passed on him a combined 257 times, though that doesn’t prevent him from showcasing his talent in Eagan.

Some players stood out when the Vikings held their annual mandatory minicamp, and McGlothern surely belonged to that group. He is competing with rookie Jackson, 2022 draft picks Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth, 2023 draft choice Mekhi Blackmon, and veteran Shaquill Griffin for the roster spots and roles behind starter Byron Murphy.

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The Athletic’s Vikings beat writer Alec Lewis wrote about the defender in his minicamp review:

Thursday, McGlothern was one of the final players on the field, listening intently to Murphy, who passed along tidbits about techniques to use when pressing receivers.

“In college, there are formations that other teams would come out in, and I would already know the play (they were going to run),” McGlothern said. “Here, so far, you just have to rely on your technique, alignment and leverage.”

McGlothern spent most of this week with the developmental group, but Thursday, the Vikings tossed him in with some of the starters. Neither size nor length is an issue. He stands 6 feet 2 and is as lanky as Evans, who is big for the position.

Alec Lewis, The Athletic

McGlothern was a two-way player in high school, starring as a wideout and cornerback before committing to LSU. The four-star recruit was a part-time starter in Louisiana in the post-Justin Jefferson era but transferred to Arkansas after two seasons. He registered seven interceptions and 72 tackles in two seasons with the Razorbacks.

Coach Could Head
Minnesota Vikings defensive passing game coordinator Daronte Jones. Picture taken at Louisiana State University on April 1st, 2021. Jones coached on Mike Zimmer’s Vikings staff in 2020, went to LSU as defensive coordinator, and ended up with the Vikings again in 2022 under head coach Kevin O’Connell.

According to Lewis, Daronte Jones, Minnesota’s defensive pass-game coordinator, played a role in McGlothern’s acquisition: “McGlothern played at LSU for current Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones, who at the time was LSU’s defensive coordinator. McGlothern met with Jones before his pro day at Arkansas, and their relationship played a role in McGlothern’s signing with the Vikings.”

The cornerback combines elite length with the requisite speed to make it as a cornerback, and most draft pundits expected him to be drafted.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

At this point, Murphy and Griffin should be viewed as the team’s starting cornerbacks. Behind them, promising sophomore Blackmon and Evans will likely compete for the gig in formations that require a third cornerback. Booth’s draft status must turn into production at some point; he might be usurped by rookie Jackson.

To make the roster, the 22-year-old McGlothern must unseat at least one of those guys, but that is possible, considering the inconsistencies in 2023.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt