C/G Billy Price (6’3″, 315) — Ohio State
Chemistry is a big component with offensive line play. The best units in the league have continuity and understand how to work in unison together. With guard Joe Berger expected to retire after the season, the 13-year veteran leaves a hole at right guard. Rookie Danny Isidora has played in spots and showed positive signs, but the team can get a player with higher upside than the 2017 fifth-round selection.
Following in Pat Elflein’s footsteps, Ohio State center/guard Billy Price has definitely lived up to the hype. From being a consensus All-American to winning the Rimington Award the following year after Elfein, it is evident that the two have many similar traits. Having already played 36 career games together, there already is a sense of chemistry and understanding of one another. Having those two as building blocks for the interior of the offensive line for years to come is very appealing. Price fills an immediate need as well as provides another piece to the teams offensive line rebuild.
DT/Derrick Nnadi (6’1″, 315) — Florida State
With the unknown future of Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson being an impending 34 year-old free agent and Jaleel Johnson being an unknown, the team lacks depth at the defensive tackle spot. Mike Zimmer has shown that he loves to have depth and rotate defensive lineman periodically in order to keep them fresh and to be consistent rushers.
Drafting Nnadi would provide the interior of the defensive line with an immediate run-plugger and versatility to play both one and three-technique spots. He doesn’t provide much three-down ability, but his run defense is elite. Potentially pairing him alongside Linval Joseph would make it very difficult to run up the middle against the Vikings defense.
S/Kyzir White (6’3′, 215) — West Virginia
A debatable positional pick, but one I like for the team. Sendejo is solid. I’m not taking anything away from him. Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse are also likable depth pieces, but their upside is limited. With Sendejo turning 31 years-old at the start of next season, it’s time to start thinking about finding his future replacement.
White provides added competition to the position group and considerably more upside than the rest, outside of Harrison Smith. One trait safeties must have in order to play for Zimmer is versatility. White has been the definition of that for the Mountaineers defense. Not only does he play both safety spots, but he has also played an extended amount at cornerback. He has logged 130 snaps there this season and recorded the lowest passer rating (49.1) among all Big-12 corners.
RB/Kalen Ballage (6’3″, 220) — Arizona State
Everyone knows that as long as he’s healthy Dalvin Cook will be the featured running back in Minnesota. The team has an interesting and tough decision to make in the off-season. Jerick McKinnon is scheduled to be an unrestriced free agent and they have to make a decision on the 2018 option year for Latavius Murray. Already the 11th-highest paid rusher in the league, Murray’s option ($6.35 million) will not come cheap. Will the team choose to bring back McKinnon or exercise Murray’s option? I don’t think we see both back next season because of the significant cost.
If the team had to choose between the two though, I think they would choose McKinnon. Being that he would be the cheaper option and provides much more value than Murray. Although much smaller, McKinnon provides versatility in the passing game, third-down situations an is the ideal compliment to Cook. That still leaves a void at the RB3 spot. Choosing to move on from Murray would mean that the team needs another “bruiser” in between the tackles type of back just in case Cook isn’t the same player he showed to be pre-inury. Despite never living up to the collegiate hype, Ballage is a mirror image of Murray physically and playing style wise.
CB/Levi Wallace (6’0″, 190) — Alabama
Xavier Rhodes has cemented himself as an elite cornerback, Trae Waynes has taken strides in his first full year as a starter and Mackensie Alexander has shown promise in his second-year. With the expected retirement of Terence Newman and Tramaine Brock being an impending free agent, there now is a lack of depth at cornerback
Alabama cornerback Levi Wallace is a name that most likely will be on the Vikings radar in the later rounds. His story is phenomenal, as he was once a walk-on for the Crimson Tide and now has turned into a starter for arguably the best secondary in the country. Wallace has the traits that the Vikings covet in their defensive back prospects, as he has size, length, ball skills and very high character.
*4th- round pick was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for QB Sam Bradford.
*7th-round pick was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for CB Tramaine Brock.
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