We officially know who will be in the Super Bowl now with the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals and that means the Senior Bowl is upon us.
The Senior Bowl has been a staple of the NFL and its draft process for the better part of the last 70 years. In recent years we have seen a renewed focus on its importance and we have seen teams that focus on drafting Senior Bowl players tend to have a quicker turnaround.
Teams like the 49ers and the Raiders for example have found significant talent since former scout and front office member Jim Nagy took over the game and its roster building. If the Vikings want to get this roster rebuilt faster than many expect then they will want to focus on the upcoming week’s worth of practice and game down in Mobile.
As for you the Vikings fan, both sides of the ball are going to be in need of some juice, and no better place to focus your eyes than the Senior Bowl as we kick off a fun week. Here are some names for you and others to watch on the offensive side of the ball this week on social media as Senior Bowl week unfolds.
Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
While it may not be a position of need, the NFL is posturing towards an arms race, as Trebor Sikkema puts it, and adding Watson to the receiving corp would be giving the team another weapon. Watson is probably familiar to Minnesota fans having played at North Dakota State which also means Minnesota brass are also familiar with him.
Rumblings down around him is he has bonafide 4.3 testing speed and if he pulls that off with his frame of six foot five and 200 pounds it could make heads explode. Watson was a playmaker in a sometimes stagnant Bison offense and for the Vikings, he could become a playmaker opposite stars, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Irv Smith Jr. has flashed some when he is on the field and healthy but the best ability is availability. Between a couple of missed games, it also appeared the coaching staff wasn’t the biggest fan of Smith so he may be forced to earn his role under a new regime. If the team is looking for someone to challenge him and push him to his best while also covering their own begins, Charlie Kolar could be the guy.
Kolar has been a name college football fans have known for what seems like forever but that is because he flashed potential so early on in his college career. He doesn’t do anything on an elite level, or even a great bill, but he has a complete skill set.
Darian Kenard, OL, Kentucky
Darian Kenard has been a big part of Kentucky’s success over the last two years, specifically this year helping protect breakout quarterback Will Levis. Kenard played mostly tackle during his career at Kentucky but some people are projecting him to be better as a pro with a move to the interior.
Kenard can be physical at the point of attack and can maul undersized guys when matched up against them and while he may not be able to do that in the NFL he can certainly prove to be a reliable anchor. The interior of the Vikings line would do well to get someone like Kenard potentially and after the Senior Bowl, they may not be the only one looking at him as well.
Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
He probably won’t be a high draft pick even with a good Senior Bowl week but he definitely could be a lot of fun as an alternative option for the Vikings on day three.
Bailey Zappe transferred from Houston Baptist to Western Kentucky and he brought along his offensive coordinator and favorite receiver and in the process broke the single-season touchdown record. He doesn’t have the most impressive physical tools but he has a live arm with excellent zip on his passes. Reminds me a lot of Chase Daniel who we know wasn’t ever a great pro but he has proven to be reliable when called into action, I see no reason Zappe couldn’t do the same for Minnesota.