In football, there are no predetermined outcomes or guaranteed spots. Every player must earn his way onto the roster and into the depth chart. It’ll be a few days before the Vikings 2014 draft picks can get on the field to show coaches what they can bring, so for now here’s a preliminary look at where each draft pick might fit with the Vikings…
The Pick: LB
The Fit: Should have a profound impact for the Vikings defense from Day 1, likely as a starter at outside linebacker. Brings a pass-rushing presence from the edge and is more than capable in coverage.
The Pick: QB
The Fit: First-round QBs are typically expected to come in and start from Day 1, but with
The Pick: DE
The Fit: It’s expected Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer will employ a rotation along the defensive line, and Crichton projects to be a part of that rotation because of his scrappiness (10 forced fumbles at Oregon State) and versatility (he can slide inside in sub packages).
The Pick: RB Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern) – 3rd Round (No. 96)
The Fit: McKinnon figures to be an offensive wild card for Norv Turner. His versatility will make him a threat in the backfield as a runner and pass catcher, in the slot as a receiver, and in perhaps several other roles (direct snaps, special teams).
The Pick: OG
The Fit: Described as a road-grading lineman, Yankey has experience at Stanford playing both guard and tackle, so expect him to compete for a starting spot at one of the guard positions and, if he doesn’t win one of those, fall into a key reserve role as a “swing lineman” who can back up at guard or tackle on both the left and right side.
The Pick: DB Antone Exum (Virginia Tech) – 6th Round (No. 182)
The Fit: Expect Exum, who has college experience at both cornerback and safety, to begin training with the Vikings as a safety. Even more, though, Exum must make a name for himself on special teams before he can get a crack at playing defense.
The Pick: CB
The Fit: James will find himself buried on the cornerback depth chart to start, but coach Zimmer is looking for big-time improvement from that position group so don’t count James out too early. As is the case with Exum, special teams will be key for James.
The Pick: NT
The Fit: Size indicates he’s a fit at nose tackle, where he’ll be behind
The Pick: LB
The Fit: Watts’ athleticism makes him a better fit at outside linebacker over inside linebacker, but the bottom line is he’ll need to showcase his ability on special teams first.
The Pick: DB
The Fit: As is the case with Exum and James, it’ll be special teams ability that keeps Price around long enough to worry about where he fits on the defensive depth chart.