Vikings Fill a Sneaky Need in the Sixth Round

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The Minnesota Vikings entered the NFL draft with some significant needs, especially the quarterback position, which was the apparent target. Indeed, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded up for one, but not for as much draft capital as expected. J.J. McCarthy joined the franchise with the 10th overall pick. Alabama’s pass-rusher Dallas Turner was selected 17th overall after another trade.

Vikings Fill a Sneaky Need in the Sixth Round

Finding help for Brian Flores’ defense continued on Saturday when Adofo-Mensah made his next pick at the 108th spot of the draft. Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson was acquired to compete with the shaky cornerback unit. As an older prospect with solid college production and intriguing physical tools, he might contribute in the upcoming season.

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Vikings fans had to wait the remainder of the fourth round and the entire fifth round before their team was back on the clock. With pick 177, the Vikings passed on addressing the vacant left guard spot and acquiring another defensive tackle or wideout. Instead, they drafted Oklahoma’s left tackle, Walter Rouse.

Starting 52 games in college, first at Stanford and then at Oklahoma, Rouse possesses ideal measurements for a tackle at 6’6″ and 313 lbs, with 35″ arms. Skol Nation didn’t have an offensive tackle high on their wish list, but it is an important piece of the puzzle to add some depth. The Vikings obviously employ top tackles Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill, but only one man behind them: David Quessenberry.

Oli Udoh and Hakeem Adeniji, last year’s backups, have left in free agency. Backup swing tackles play an important role because having depth at the crucial offensive line positions is crucial to keeping the offense going even without the starters on the field. A four-year swing backup tackle surely provides a return on a day-three investment.

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Interestingly, Bleacher Report’s pro comparison is Vederian Lowe, a 2022 Vikings draft pick. Following his rookie season, he was traded to New England, where he was a spot starter.

Daniel Jeremiah, a draft pundit on the NFL Network, mentioned his nasty play style and strength in the running game during the draft coverage.

According to Pro Football Focus, Rouse ranked first among offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency in FBS football, and he didn’t give up a sack in the entire 2023 campaign.

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Lance Zierlein from wrote about the lineman:

Rouse possesses the size and intelligence coaches like, and he might be able to continue improving if he can get stronger and prove he can play on the right side as well. He’s an average athlete with average bend, and that will show up in his lack of consistent anchor and in-line drive. However, that should not be oversold, as he tends to anchor enough and maintain a level of stickiness as a run blocker, even when it looks a little disheveled. Rouse has played almost exclusively as a left tackle but might be in consideration as a solid swing tackle prospect with some upside.

Lance Zierlein

If Rouse can make the team and provide the necessary depth, he will be a good draft pick, although it is not a flashy move.

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