The Vikings released a video on all platforms showing some information from the draft, including strategic stuff and personal conversations between Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
Jordan Addison certainly set the video apart. He hung up on his new head coach and other members of the coaching staff. The young man was overwhelmed as he had to go on stage, talk to his new bosses and celebrate with his family at the same time. It was a funny little gaffe, and the people involved can laugh about it now. The video also revealed some other interesting tidbits.
Vikings Draft Clip confirms rookie theory
Brian Flores needed some talent on the roster for a needed defensive turnaround, but the Vikings traded offense in the first round and didn’t have a second-round pick due to the TJ Hockenson trade. Third-rounder Mekhi Blackmon was the first pick on the defensive side of the ball, but he wasn’t the last.
In the fourth round, the Vikers were joined by defenseman Jay Ward, and speculation immediately began about him. Is he a safety or a cornerback? Why did the Vikings draft another safety? Can and will he play in the slot?
The easy answer is actually complicated. He is all of the above, just a versatile defensive back. Flores can use him where he needs help. In his final season at LSU, Ward was everywhere imaginable. Ward, 22, lined up 178 times as an outside QB on 230 snaps and had 104 tackles as a safety, according to PFF. 108 appeared in the penalty area, 13 in the defense line. That shows Ward’s intelligence. He was one of the vocal leaders of LSU’s defense, and he helped his teammates get the right alignment on the field.
Minnesota needs help at one position: the slot. Nickelback Chandon Sullivan left the team after one season and joined the Steelers in the draft. Ward is the only one on the current roster with a lot of experience playing inside. In the draft video, before the Vikings made the call, O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah talked about the rookie. “That’s where I kind of lean, Jay Ward,” Adofo-Mensah said, adding: “I think it’s this guy. might be a good nickel.” O’Connell replied.[He’s a] classic Flo (Brian Flores) guy. They will find a home for him.”
The Vikings made the call and picked up Ward to help their defense. Adofo-Mensah confirmed in the video that Ward should be considered the best option in the slot. Ward is classic Flo guy because he is versatile and tough. Peake immediately yelled at Flores. The same can be said for third-round pick Mekhi Blackmon. Whenever those two guys were described, the word hardness came out first. Flores seems to want to build a defense group filled with cynoids and tough players.
The secondary is undergoing a lot of changes and this has led to uncertainty. Free agent signing Byron Murphy will start at one cornerback position, while Vikings defensive end Harrison Smith will fill one spot. All other positions are up for grabs. Blackmon and last year’s rookies Andrew Booth and Aquileb Evans are considered the go-to guys for reaming outside CB, Ward is the best option inside, but Blackmon has also hinted at his ability to play underneath. It will be an interesting competition in training camp.
Another mystery is the second security point. Lewis Siné was a first-round pick last year, but he couldn’t get past Camryn Bynum to see the field before his injury. He’s talented, but needs to prove he’s actually the best player in the short and long term. Special teams ace Josh Metellus has an outside chance to win the opener because he played extremely well when he got a chance to contribute.
Flores will have plenty of options to choose from. He obviously had a say in who the team should target in the draft, so it’s fair to assume he was an advocate for Blackmon and Ward, which doesn’t diminish their chances of earning significant playing time early in their Vikings tenures.
Yannick Eckardt is a soccer fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team, despite then-quarterback Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves to watch sitcoms and classic rock is his preferred music genre. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt: