Vikings 2017 draft: All 11 picks analyzed
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman hates the nickname - "Trader Rick" - but it sure fits. In a draft that saw a record 39 trades, Trader Rick made a league-high seven of them.
"It's the funnest part of the draft for me," Spielman said.
Spielman started the draft with eight picks. He traded up twice, down five times and finished with 11 picks.
By now, everyone in the Vikings' draft room is well aware of how wild draft day will be with Spielman.
Jamaal Stephenson, the team's director of college scouting, said it can be hard to watch Spielman trade down when there's a player there that Stephenson likes.
"It's kind of a punch in the gut a little bit," Stephenson said Saturday. "But you know there's a reason for it. We've done all this work on all these guys this year as far as going out to their schools. We started in July and our scouts have done a phenomenal job in getting all the information we needed. We just feel there's a lot of depth in this draft. We felt we had some room if we had to trade back and pick up some more picks. It's always exciting to pick players and you want to instantly say let's go ahead and grab that guy or grab this guy, but there's always a master plan."
Here is a closer look at each selection:
Round 2/41 - Dalvin Cook, 5-10, 210, Florida State
As soon as this first-round talent fell to the second round, the Vikings started making calls to trade up from the 15th pick of the second round. They view him as an explosive three-down back who can help their moribund running game immediately. The Vikings gave the Bengals a fourth-round pick to move up seven spots and grab Cook ahead of the Eagles at 42.
Round 3/70 - Pat Elflein, 6-3, 300, Ohio State
Concerned that a run on offensive linemen would start before they could nab Elflein, the Vikings traded a fifth-round pick to the Jets to move up nine spots. Elflein started 40 straight games between guard and center at Ohio State. A more natural guard who still won last year's Rimington Award as the nation's best center, Elflein will either compete for the wide-open job at right guard or stay at center as versatile veteran Joe Berger moves to right guard.
Round 4/109 - Jaleel Johnson, DT, 6-4, 310, Iowa
Combination of strength and quick feet make him a candidate to step in at the three-technique position, where Sharrif Floyd's once-promising career is in jeopardy. Floyd had what was considered minor surgery last September, but ended up missing the final 15 games and still hasn't passed a physical. Some nerve damage in the knee caused the Vikings to make defensive tackle a priority position in the draft.
Round 4/120 - Ben Gedeon, OLB, 6-3, 247, Michigan
The Vikings went into the draft with only five linebackers on their roster. Chad Greenway retired, leaving the team with a need for more competition to fill the weak-side backer position in the base defense. Gedeon is only a two-down player best suited to playing the run, but that's all that would be needed from him considering that's what Greenway became late in his career.
Round 5/170 - Rodney Adams, WR, 6-1, 189, South Florida
The Vikings needed more help at receiver because they lost Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson in free agency and still aren't sure what they really got in 2016 first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell, who had only one catch last season. Adams also has the skill set and experience to step in as Patterson's replacement at kick returner. Patterson led the league in kick returns three out of the past four year. Adams averaged 29.1 yards per return with a 97-yard score two years ago.
Round 5/180 - Danny Isidora, G, 6-3, 306, Miami
Started 39 games at right guard, but probably a little too raw to be considered a candidate to win the competition there right away. Has the athleticism and technique to make it at the NFL level, but might need to get stronger after getting overpowered some at the Senior Bowl.
Round 6/201 - Bucky Hodges, TE, 6-6, 257, Virginia Tech
Essentially, he was a giant slot receiver in college. He rarely blocked and won't help the Vikings in that area. But he runs in the 4.5s and is a smooth receiver that the team might be able to use along with No. 1 tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Round 7/219 - Stacy Coley, WR, 6-0, 195, Miami
Another guy who can stretch the field but needs polish. Speed also could make him a candidate in the return game.
Round 7/220 - Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, 6-3, 258, Northwestern
Brought in for depth on a defensive line unit that has only one player - nose tackle Linval Joseph - signed beyond this season. A strong player who will need coaching.
Round 7/232 - Elijah Lee, OLB, 6-3, 228, Kansas State
Another long, athletic outside linebacker in the mold that the Vikings like. Could help out on special teams immediately and possibly stick around for depth at linebacker.
Round 7/245 - Jack Tocho, CB, 6-0, 202, North Carolina State
A big corner with promise. A player who could benefit from head coach Mike Zimmer's expertise in coaching defensive backs. Isn't the smoothest player laterally and needs to get better against the run.