Minnesota Vikings 2019 Draft Class
R1 (18) – Garrett Bradbury – C / North Carolina State
R2 (18) – Irv Smith Jr. – TE / Alabama
R3 (38) – Alexander Mattison – RB / Boise State
R4 (12) – Dru Samia – OG / Oklahoma
R5 (24) – Cameron Smith – LB / USC
R6 (17) – Armon Watts – DT / Arkansas
R6 (18) – Marcus Epps – S / Wyoming
R6 (20) – Oli Udoh – OT / Elon
R7 (3) – Kris Boyd – CB / Texas
R7 (25) – Dillon Mitchell – WR / Oregon
R7 (33) – Olabisi Johnson – WR / Colorado State
R7 (36) – Austin Cutting – LS / Air Force
Approaching the draft, the general consensus was that the Vikings would address their offensive line. They didn’t disappoint, adding three new players to the unit. Bradbury figures to make the biggest impact as a plug-and-play starter, likely forcing last year’s embattled starting center Pat Elflein to a guard spot, or into a fight to even make the roster.
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Smith Jr. (pictured above) was almost a no-brainer in the second round, with veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph approaching age 30. Smith’s run after the catch ability could offset his size concerns. It will be fascinating to watch the comparative play of Smith Jr. and TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant, the two tight ends taken before him, in 2019.
Mattison may turn out to be the Vikings’ wisest pick of this class. Starting running back Dalvin Cook has had trouble staying healthy in his first two seasons, and has thus underperformed.
Mattison does have a lot of wear on his tracks from his time at Boise State, averaging 257 carries per season in his last two years in college. But he’s a three-down ball carrier who provides solid insurance in the backfield for the short term should Cook hit another injury snag.
The Vikings’ defense has caused a lot of problems in the NFC North in recent years, but they’re getting older in certain spots. Waiting until the fifth round to address the defensive side of the ball likely falls in line with most general managers’ draft philosophy of sticking to their own board. However, it could turn out to be a mistake should some of their high priced veteran defenders see a sharp decline in performance next season, and the rookies aren’t ready to contribute.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Austin Cutting, just the third long snapper drafted in the NFL since….you guessed it, Jimmy Landes by the Lions in 2016. Landes never played a snap in the NFL, but maybe Cutting will stick.