Welcome back to my four part series on who I think are possibilities for the Vikings in this upcoming draft. In my last article, we talked about the promising offensive lineman Andre Dillard and outlined the pros and cons of that selection (you can check out that article here). This week we’ll take a little detour from our needs across the offensive line and focus our attention on an offensive weapon.
Prospect: Noah Fant
Why he’d be good for the Vikings:
Last year, the Vikings struggled with having a 3rd option outside of Diggs and Theilen step up in games. This includes Kyle Rudolph. Kyle Rudolph is a good TE but he’s not a game changer. He is reliable and will be where you need him to be but he’s not a viable 3rd option that other teams would respect. Enter in Noah Fant. He is a 6’4, 250lb TE who can run – he posted a 4.5 forty at the combine- This dude is really something else! While many “experts” have his counterpart Hockenson rated above him, I really don’t think the two are far off in terms of talent. Fant is a game changer with ridiculous speed and strength. Watch the below clip and you’ll see why Fant is a rare talent with freakish ability for TE.
Noah Fant is literally a bigger Evan Engram. How many tight ends do you see take a WR bubble screen 50+ yards? pic.twitter.com/kyu9kzloJb
— Joe Kipp (@joepkipp) January 19, 2019
Fant is a big, fast, good route running TE who can be an absolute match-up nightmare against anyone he faces. Now imagine inserting him into the Vikings lineup and you have to wonder how teams would be able to contain Diggs, Theilen, Cook, and Fant. He’s going to be a TE who can stretch the field, make contested catches, and help bring your offense to the next level no matter who’s guarding him…yes even cornerbacks.
Play 1: inside breaking route and carries DB over 5 yards in the end zone
Play 2: slot right vertical route. Such an easy mover. pic.twitter.com/NOMnyxNU1C
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) March 2, 2019
Why he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Vikings:
With that rousing endorsement above, how could there even be a section about why he wouldn’t be a good fit? Well, when you consider how deep the TE pool is this year in the draft, in addition to the pressing need for an OL, it could be hard to justify pulling the trigger on a TE at pick 18. This is understandable given how the issues on the OL have plagued us for far too long. But on top of that, he isn’t the world’s best blocker. That’s not to say that he isn’t good, but he just isn’t much of a finisher, which can be critical in running situations.
I have more plays tagged where he (Fant) looks lost – not so much beaten at the POA pic.twitter.com/RCqMwJYwwy
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 29, 2019
He has acknowledged this issue, however, “I feel like I’m a decent blocker, I feel like there is always room to improve” but also goes on to say “I’m not gonna say, hey I’m a great blocker”
— Hawkeye Headquarters (@HawkeyeHQ) August 10, 2018
I also believe that pick 18 would be a tad high for us to draft him, I’d prefer to trade back a little bit and snag him later if that were an option. But at the end of the day he could be best player available when we draft, and we know that Rick is known for going BPA>Need.
Overall, I think that if the Vikings ended up with Fant at the end of round one, you’d have a lot of fans really hoping Rick has another trick up his sleeve to snag an offensive lineman. Fant’s talent is unquestioned, and he’d immediately help our team for a while and help create multiple mismatches every Sunday. And if the Vikings do pull the trigger on him at 18 (assuming he is there) I would be happy knowing that we have a unique TE on our team for the foreseeable future.
I can’t say it enough. I love the way Iowa uses TE Noah Fant. They move him all over the field with various motions and formations in order to create mismatches. He’s a match up nightmare for LBs and DBs. pic.twitter.com/6b8TMxFDjw
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) June 24, 2018