Olisaemeka Udoh Jersey

Johnson’s father, Bode, is Nigerian; his mother, Traci, is from Iowa. But interestingly, Johnson’s birth name wasn’t given to him by his parents.

According to a 2017 article by the Coloradoan’s Kelly Lyell, Olabisi Johnson was named by Ola Fadeyi, an elder in Denver’s Nigerian community. Johnson wrote:

Johnson … is proud of his name, which means “to bring prosperity to your family,” and his Nigerian heritage. He traveled to the African nation several times as a child to visit his grandparents, aunts and uncles and their families.

Related image

Johnson is one of five players on the Vikings roster — and two selected in 2019 (tackle Olisaemeka Udoh) — who are of Nigerian descent. Brothers Ifeadi and Tito Odenigbo, and 2018 draft pick Ade Aruna are the other three.This guy was impressive at the East West Shrine game. Olisaemeka Udoh has the size at 6’ 5” and 323 pounds and the physical ability to play tackle at the NFL level.

The Vikings traded up in the fourth round to take Oklahoma guard Dru Samia with the No. 114 pick. They added Elon tackle Olisaemeka Udoh in the sixth round with the No. 193 pick.

“We wanted to come in and try to improve that area,’’ Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said of the line. “I think the guys we drafted were very specific to what we were going to do from a schematic standpoint, and that’s what we wanted to do to make sure that we were matching up the traits of the players to the scheme we’re going to run.’’

The Vikings made six trades in the three-day draft and had 12 selections, their most since the NFL went to a seven-round draft in 1994.The Vikings entered the draft with two players on the roster of Nigerian descent in Odenigbo and defensive end Ade Aruna. They added two more in the draft.

The Vikings selected in the sixth round Elon guard Olisaemeka Udoh and in the seventh round Colorado State wide receiver Olabisi Johnson. Both have parents from Nigeria.

“I know both (Odenigbo and Aruna),’’ Udoh said. “Ade is with my agent’s group. … Ifeadi, I know him because I used to live in Ohio (where Odenigbo is from). … That’s pretty cool to be able to join the ranks with more Nigerian players.’’

Only one of the deals led to moving up. The Vikings really wanted Samia, so they sent the No. 120 pick in the fourth round and the No. 204 selection in the sixth round to Seattle to move up six spots in the fourth.

The Vikings made one other deal Saturday. They traded with New England to move down three spots from No. 159 to No. 162 in the fifth round and took USC linebacker Cameron Smith. They also got a seventh-round pick in the deal.Sixth Round: T Olisaemeka Udoh 193rd overall, Vikings

The plan for the Vikings was simple: protect Kirk Cousins. They drafted offensive line heavy, and it should work out.

Their sixth rounder, Udoh, is a player that could be boom or bust. He has the size of a lineman, but is he good enough? He will take a small jump after playing at the Division I-AA Elon University.

Marcus Epps Jersey

Jayron Kearse has taken a step forward the last few years and has become a key depth piece in the Minnesota Vikings defense and now it appears that they may be looking into the possibility of having him on the field more. Kearse has spent his career thus far as a safety and defensive back, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press said on Tuesday that the Vikings are looking at potentially moving him to linebacker.

“Sources say #Vikings looking this spring into moving Jayron Kearse from safety to weakside linebacker. The 6-4, 215-pound Kearse was a linebacker in high school. Vikings didn’t draft an outside backer & drafted a safety (Marcus Epps) & signed an undrafted safety (Micah Abernathy),” Tomasson tweeted.

What does this mean for the safeties and linebackers? If this is true, it could put Kearse in position to compete for the job on the weak side, which has been held down by Ben Gedeon the last two seasons. Generally speaking, that position is the first one off the field when the team goes into nickel and dime packages, so it is not like they get the same amount of snaps as Anthony Barr or Eric Kendricks would.

Mike Zimmer’s defense has had to adapt in the last few seasons as offenses have adapted around the league, so having a player like Kearse on the field more may be of interest to them and getting a better athlete on the field. It also could create a scenario where both Marcus Epps and Micah Abernathy have a shot to crack the active roster if they hold up their end of the bargain, making them the backups to Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris at the safety spots.

Both sides of the ball would be addressed after the first four selections and they handled needs on the other side of the ball before the last day was all said and done with picks of linebacker Cameron Smith, defensive tackle Armon Watts, safety Marcus Epps and cornerback Kris Boyd. The Vikings closed out the event with long snapper Austin Cutting from Air Force. The Vikings added a trio of players on Saturday in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, bringing in two players in the trenches and one in the secondary.

Minnesota, which had three picks in a four-selection span, started off its run by taking Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts with the 190th overall pick.

The Vikings then went back-to-back, selecting Wyoming safety Marcus Epps at pick No. 191.

Minnesota finished off the flurry by adding Elon offensive tackle Olisaemeka Udoh with the 193rd overall pick in the draft.
Safety presents a whole new issue for the Vikings. Harrison Smith is one of the best in the league at the position, and he is a staple of the defense. After him, there aren’t any guarantees. Anthony Harris will be the frontrunner to start next to Smith at the start of camp. He showed tremendous growth while Sendejo missed time last season. The only other safety on the roster with any meaningful experience is Jayron Kearse. Kearse has been a stud on special teams in his career, but recent murmurings suggest he could move to linebacker next season.

2019 sixth-round pick Marcus Epps joins Derron Smith and Micah Abernathy in the competition for a backup spot. The Vikings lack depth on the back end of the defense, which is vital for their defense.Both sides of the ball would be addressed after the first four selections and they handled needs on the other side of the ball before the last day was all said and done with picks of linebacker Cameron Smith, defensive tackle Armon Watts, safety Marcus Epps and cornerback Kris Boyd. The Vikings closed out the event with long snapper Austin Cutting from Air Force.

Armon Watts Jersey

Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings got back to work quickly after the conclusion of the 2019 NFL Draft and just a week later had their rookie class on the field for the first time as a group, which included picks, undrafted free agents and tryout players. There is still plenty of time to make decisions about trimming the roster down from 89 to 53 players and several key spots are up for grabs that could potentially be filled by first-year players.

In that regard, the Vikings succeeded in bringing in guys that can and will affect the team from the first day they set foot at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. This weekend marked that first step for them and Zimmer took to the podium to address some of the bigger storylines surrounding the rookie class, whether it be the draft picks and where first-round offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury will play, how Irv Smith Jr. fits into the offense on day one and how Alabama prepped him to play early, how Armon Watts can factor into the defensive tackle rotation early and what the team sees in UDFA quarterback Jake Browning.

“One of the bright spots on the Arkansas defense” is probably the best way to sum up Armon Watts’ 2018 season. The Razorbacks were an absolutely brutal 2-10 (0-8 in the SEC) last year, and there weren’t a lot of things to like about their season, but Watts was certainly one of them. Watts was a 3-star recruit from St. Louis, and was a bit of a late bloomer, not making much noise until his senior year. Given the opportunity to start in 2018, however, he took advantage of the role and led Arkansas with 7 sacks and three forced fumbles. What really caught my attention was – while researching picks for an SB Nation Fan Mock –

Image result for Armon Watts

coming across a quote by draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah mentioning Watts in the same breath as guys being discussed as first round picks: “When you look at tiers, in the first-round tier, Quinnen Williams, Christian Wilkins, Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, who I think is more of an edge guy, Jeffery Simmons, and [Dexter] Lawrence could factor in there in the late 20s,” Jeremiah said. “Then, you get into that next tier for me, you start getting to Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame. I really like Armon Watts from Arkansas, who is just a real strong-handed guy and solid on tape.”

Safety Marcus Epps, a sixth-round pick out of Wyoming, said he has a laundry list of items he wants to learn from All-Pro safety Harrison Smith, who has been to four straight Pro Bowls.

“Man, there are just so many things. I can’t even say one thing,” Epps said. “I’m so excited to just pick his brain.

“He’s been one of the best safeties in the league for a long time now, so it’s great to have somebody like that to come in and learn from,” Epps added.

Sixth-round defensive tackle Armon Watts picked the biggest (and perhaps baddest) Viking in defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

But Watts had a bit of an inside look on Joseph stemming from his time working Vikings assistant defensive line coach Rob Rodriguez at the East-West Shrine Game in January.

Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings got back to work quickly after the conclusion of the 2019 NFL Draft and just a week later had their rookie class on the field for the first time as a group, which included picks, undrafted free agents and tryout players. There is still plenty of time to make decisions about trimming the roster down from 89 to 53 players and several key spots are up for grabs that could potentially be filled by first-year players.

In that regard, the Vikings succeeded in bringing in guys that can and will affect the team from the first day they set foot at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. This weekend marked that first step for them and Zimmer took to the podium to address some of the bigger storylines surrounding the rookie class, whether it be the draft picks and where first-round offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury will play, how Irv Smith Jr. fits into the offense on day one and how Alabama prepped him to play early, how Armon Watts can factor into the defensive tackle rotation early and what the team sees in UDFA quarterback Jake Browning.

Cameron Smith Jersey

With the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft beginning on Thursday, the Tennessee Titans have all but made their final preparations for their upcoming selections.

While the names they add to the team in the early rounds are important, the players the Titans acquire in the later rounds are just as significant.As Tennessee looks to further bolster positions on the defensive side of the ball, one player they should consider is USC linebacker Cameron Smith.

Smith could provide the depth the Titans are looking for as a developmental prospect, and could also prove efficient on special teams.Smith’s most valuable trait is probably his football IQ, which helped the Trojans in third-down situations. He’s a solid tackler with quick reflexes who opposing offenses have a difficult time fooling.

Smith was a force for USC in 2018, racking up 81 tackles with 7.5 for a loss, one sack and four passes defensed.

On his college career, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder recorded 354 tackles with 26.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, four passes defensed, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and a touchdown.Cronulla captain Paul Gallen believes cracks may be starting to appear at Melbourne after they uncharacteristically blew up at each other while under pressure during their loss to the Sharks on Friday night.

Gallen claims he overheard Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster engage in a verbal exchange with skipper Cameron Smith in the final stages of the game as they attempted to overcome an eight-point deficit after a dominant second-half Sharks display.In the final play of the game, Munster surrendered himself in a tackle in Melbourne’s final attacking chance, which led to some criticism from his teammates.

“The last play of the game I was concerned … there was a penalty given away, I don’t know why we gave a penalty away 20 metres out of our try-line but we did,” Gallen told Channel Nine.

“They tapped the ball, passed the ball to Munster and I was in front of Munster, thought ‘what’s he going to do here?’, and he almost just took a hit-up. I just grabbed him and held onto the ball.

“I heard them, Munster started arguing, Munster went straight back at Cam Smith and they all started arguing among each other.In college football today, it is rare to have a player who stays during all four years of eligibility. However, it is ever more rare that a player is a four-year starter. Cameron Smith, born and bred in California, did not go far when choosing a college. At USC, Smith found the field quickly and was the heart of that defense for all four years. Smith started in 35 out of a possible 37 games. In his career, he racked up 273 tackles, where 19 of those were for losses. Additionally, he had 2.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, three fumble recoveries, and added four interceptions even turning one of them into a pick-six.

Former NSW coach Laurie Daley says the Queensland Rugby League should be offering Cameron Smith an additional $50,000 per game to make his representative comeback during this year’s State of Origin series.

It comes as Queensland coach Kevin Walters again declared he will not be asking Smith to make his Queensland comeback this year “at the moment” despite Smith dramatically declaring he could not rule it out during an appearance on Fox League’s The Matty Johns Show on Sunday night.

Daley’s comments to offer Smith up to $150,000 for the three-game series would be on top of the $30,0000 match payment given to State of Origin stars as negotiated under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

It means Smith would pocket up to $240,000 for the three Origin appearances — on top of his Melbourne Storm salary.Cameron Smith has emphatically ruled out a dramatic State of Origin comeback for Queensland.

Maroons fans had been hoping their inspirational former captain would make an Allan Langer-style return in 2019 following the huge drain of experience from the squad over the past two years.

But the veteran hooker insists his time in the Origin arena is over and that he won’t be reversing his representative retirement after pulling the pin on the eve of last year’s series.

“My thoughts on Origin now haven’t changed from the day I decided to finish up,” Smith told News Corp on Thursday night.

Dru Samia Jersey

Another one of the Oklahoma Sooners’ vaunted offensive lineman is up for grabs this April in the 2019 NFL Draft. All but one of Bill Bedenbaugh’s starting hogmollies are expected to be drafted, and that includes 2018 Joe Moore Award winner Dru Samia. One could say that Samia’s stock has been going up since he was a freshman, winning out during his senior year by earning second-team All-American from the AP in addition to first-team All-Big 12 honors. Samia originally started his career at right tackle after replacing a less than stellar Josiah St. John after the Red River Rivalry, but he later moved inside to right guard where his talents were better served.

Just like several of the offensive linemen at Oklahoma, the results for draft projections are not entirely consistent. Scouts gave Samia a rating of 5.60, labeling him at a chance to become an NFL starter with the right team and scheme/blocking philosophy. Walter Football has rated Samia as the No. 18 offensive lineman as well as CBS Sports rated Samia has the 27th-best OL. That being said, it should be no surprise if Samia is taken between rounds 4-7, but it may not accurately reflect each evaluation placed on the Joe Moore Award Winners for 2018. If you’d like to see more on evaluation on Dru Samia from NFL Scouts,

Vikings fans wanted offensive line help in free agency but did not get the big spending like some of them had hoped for. Instead, they settled on Kline, who they brought in as the probable starter at right guard to fill another spot up front in the trenches. They really just need Kline to be serviceable and a calming presence at the right guard spot as opposed to the be all, end all solution. His job feels guaranteed at this point, but he could get pushed by rookie fourth-round pick Dru Samia if should he somehow lose out on that job, it means that Samia was just that much better. Kline feels like an alright starter and a known commodity but has to be more of a Joe Berger presence in his spot as opposed to what Mike Remmers was there last year.

Related image

The Vikings spent two of their first four picks in the 2019 NFL Draft on offensive linemen, snagging center Garrett Bradbury in the first round and guard Dru Samia in the fourth round.

The duo lined up next to each other at the majority of practice Friday, with Bradbury at center and Samia to his right. Both players impressed in solo drills and as a tandem.

Bradbury showed quickness and athleticism off the ball, and moved well in practicing Minnesota’s zone-blocking scheme. At one point, Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison exclaimed, ‘That’s it!’ to Bradbury after the rookie finished off a block.Samia, meanwhile, showed power on many blocks and worked well with his fellow rookie.

Producing successive Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks and likely consecutive number one NFL draft picks is no easy feat, but it helps if you have one of the best offensive lines around.

In 2017, Baker Mayfield played behind an Oklahoma Sooners O-Line that featured Orlando Brown – a third-round selection by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 – Dru Samia, Ben Powers and Bobby Evans en route to winning the Heisman and becoming the top pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Samia, Powers and Evans all returned last year when the Sooners allowed just 19 sacks, providing the foundation for Kyler Murray to win college football’s highest individual honour and become the favourite for the first overall pick.Former Sooner offensive guards Dru Samia and Ben Powers were both taken in the NFL Draft’s fourth round Sautrday. Samia went No. 114 overall to the Minnesota Vikings, while Powers was picked No. 123 by the Baltimore Ravens.

Dru Samia was a four-year starter for the Sooners, and he definitely peaked at the right time. Samia was named Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year for his work in 2018, just a year after he struggled mightily vs. Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Similar to Powers, his floor is likely a solid backup, but he could become a starter in the right situation.Samia, Powers, Cody Ford, Bobby Evans and Creed Humphrey won the Joe Moore Award last fall for college football’s best offensive line, helping OU become the first FBS team to produce a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers in a season.

The Buffalo Bills moved up two spots in the second round to grab Ford, and Bobby Evans went No. 97 overall to the Los Angeles Rams.

Humphrey isn’t draft eligible, but is projected as a top talent for 2020. “We’ll hear another one in the first round next year — their center,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said during Saturday’s broadcast.

Alexander Mattison Jersey

Minnesota is clearly going all in on upgrading what was a decent offense in 2018, selecting center Garrett Bradbury in the first round of the NFL Draft and then taking tight end Irv Smith Jr. and running back Alexander Mattison in the second and third rounds, respectively.

At 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, Smith didn’t play much in 2017 at Alabama because he was stuck behind current Tampa Bay Bucs tight end O.J. Howard. But given a chance to play in 2018, Smith racked up 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns, and the Vikings are planning to use his speed and athleticism all over the field.

“We believe Irv is a perfect fit for our new scheme in terms of a mismatch guy,” said Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson, via the New Orleans Advocate. “He’s a guy we can move around. He can play wide, in tight, in the backfield. He has a lot of versatility and is a great kid.The Vikings selected running back Alexander Mattison with the final pick in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night after making four trades in the round to acquire more draft picks.

Related image

The 5-foot-11, 221-pound Mattison played three seasons at Boise State and rushed for 2,829 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns.Less than two months after losing a running back in free agency, the Vikings added a versatile piece to their backfield Friday night.

Minnesota used the 102nd overall pick — the final selection of the third round — on Alexander Mattison, a Boise State junior running back who led the Mountain West Conference in rushing in 2018.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman believes the 5-foot-11, 221-pound Mattison will bring a blend of power and speed to Minnesota’s backfield.

“One of the areas we thought we needed to make sure we covered was at running back, and a different type since we lost Latavius Murray [in free agency],” Spielman said. “Alexander Mattison is a big back that is very productive, can catch the ball very well out of the backfield.

“I know his ability to go forward on contact, a lot like Latavius did for us. I know his ability to catch the ball. I know his ability in pass protection, and I know we have to have multiple backs in this offense,” Spielman later added. “We wanted something that was similar to a Murray type, and we felt that Alexander can definitely do that.”

Mattison chatted with the Twin Cities media shortly after learning he was a Viking, and said his mindset on the field is to be “fast and physical.”

“I think my versatility [is key]. I also think I’m a smart football player, and I make great decisions when I’m on the field and am very instinctive,” Mattison said. “Along with that, [my] versatility kind of pays off, and that makes me the back that I am.”
You saw him run wild on the Blue, hurdling hapless defenders or steamrolling them on his way to the end zone. But there were times when Alexander Mattison heard that such dreams were impossible.

Growing up in San Bernardino, California, a city that often appears on those “most dangerous” lists, life was not easy. His family at times did not have a stable living situation. But now the former Boise State running back is on the verge of hearing his name announced at the NFL Draft.

“It’s pretty crazy to think about maybe being an inspiration, and it’s something I take pride in,” Mattison said. “I heard it when I was younger — ‘You’re never going to make it out’ — but here I am. It is possible, no matter what you do.”

Irv Smith Jersey

Irv Smith Jr. came off the board for the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 50 overall pick in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, filling another major need on the offensive side of the ball and an athletic playmaker over the middle of the field. That said, it seems to have created a situation where Kyle Rudolph may now be on the block with Smith being the future of the position in the Twin Cities.

“Smith (6-foot-2, 242 lbs) does not possess the height that some of his counterparts do. However, he does have similar skillsets. Smith was lined up all over the field for the Crimson Tide,” 247Sports’ Josh Edwards wrote about the prospect. “He is not as fast as Noah Fant but he is a better blocker. He blocks with good leverage. He does have some issues with allowing the ball to get too far into his body, which leads to drops. He also had an issue fumbling the ball. The tight end shows soft hands and the knowledge of sitting in the soft spot of the opponent’s zone.”Here are some of the initial reactions to Smith being the latest member of the Vikings.

This is what the draft is all about when reaction videos like this drop. So many kids dream of this day and players worth tireless days and nights just to get their names in the conversation. Smith now joins the Vikings after being one of Alabama’s most explosive playmakers in a passing game that was cranked up far more than years prior with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. It is hard not to feel happy for any player that sees his dream come true, let alone if he becomes a Viking or not.

Related image

“Irv Smith’s dad, Irv Smith Sr., played tight end for New Orleans, San Francisco and Cleveland from 1993-98 and caught 183 passes for 1,788 yards. #Vikings took junior at No. 50 in second round” – Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

We love a good story that comes out of nowhere, but Smith seemed destined for NFL Draft stardom given his lineage and time playing for Nick Saban at Alabama. The Vikings will take any explosion they can out of him.

“Jamaal Stephenson on whether he sees Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. working together in ’12’ personnel: “‘I’ll let the coaches talk to you guys about how they plan to use these guys. I can just tell you he’s athletically kind of what we’ve been looking for.'” – via Sam Ekstrom

People will immediately assume that Rudolph is on the way out, but these two still fit together and bring different traits to the table. Stephenson feels he may not be qualified to place him, but he backs up the profile and what they were wanting to add at the position.

“Jamaal Stephenson, the #Vikings directory of college scouting, talked extensively about Irv Smith Jr.’s versatility and production as a receiver. As a run blocker, “OK…work in progress” but willing and a big body.” – via Viking Update’s Tim Yotter on Twitter

In our profile, we wrote he is “a willing and solid blocker,” so it seems that the projection was on point for what he brings to the table as a prospect. Don’t expect him putting his hand down right off the bat.

“Irv Smith Jr. ‘I don’t believe a safety or linebacker can cover me one-on-one.”‘ – via Chad Graff of The Athletic

And this is why the Vikings targeted him. He is a mismatch over the middle of the field that is basically a wide receiver playing tight end, a la what Jordan Reed was for Kirk Cousins when the two played together with the Washington Redskins.

Speaking of Cousins, his reaction on social media said, “Welcome to the team @swervinirvin_ …happy for you and your family, now lets get to work!”

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings selected Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. with the 50th overall pick in the second round on Friday night, adding another potential field-stretching pass-catcher for quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Smith became the fourth Alabama tight end drafted in the last eight years, with O.J. Howard the most recent in 2017 by Tampa Bay with the 19th overall pick in the first round. Smith is the son of former NFL tight end Irv Smith, who played the first five of his seven seasons in the league with New Orleans.

The Vikings have one proven tight end in Kyle Rudolph, a two-time Pro Bowl pick and ninth-year veteran who’s long been a reliable receiver.

The Vikings picked North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury in the first round on Thursday night.

Garrett Bradbury Jersey

A sentiment uttered out of frustration by quarterback Kirk Cousins the day the Minnesota Vikings’ playoff dreams were put to bed in December summed up a major issue from a lost season.

Minnesota’s struggles in 2018 can’t be tied to the offensive line alone, but the unit’s well-documented issues need to be remedied if the Vikings want to take the next step.

The Vikings can use the 18th overall pick in a variety of ways, many of which would be hard to argue against. They can give Cousins a dynamic pass-catching tight end, or perhaps select an elite defensive lineman who falls past the middle of the first round. There are multiple scenarios in which the Vikings can still get the offensive line help they need while addressing a different concern with their first pick.

Image result for Garrett Bradbury

However, N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury is the perfect fit for Minnesota at No. 18. The elite prospect can be a difference-maker on the interior. He is a match on multiple fronts, from how his athletic traits fit the Vikings’ zone-blocking scheme to the positional flexibility he provides with their current personnel.

Bradbury was in an outside-zone scheme at N.C. State that required him to work into the second level, run laterally and move quickly. At the NFL combine, Bradbury recorded the fastest three-cone time (7.41 seconds), as well as the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.92), among offensive linemen.

His strength and movement skills strike comparisons to former Vikings guard/center Nick Easton and many of the traits found in last year’s second-round pick, Brian O’Neill. Drafting a player with a skill set this vast is critical to the Vikings’ zone-running scheme and can create a more explosive attack in areas like the play-action game.

The Minnesota Vikings picked Garrett Bradbury 18th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here’s what Stephen White had to say about the North Carolina State center ahead of the draft:

When it comes to first-round offensive line prospects, most of the time people focus on the offensive tackles. Sometimes there are guards in the conversation, but a lot of times those “guards” are actually college tackles who project to kick inside on the next level. In fact, there have been at least two offensive tackles taken in the first round in every draft since 2007.

You know the offensive line position that people seem to overlook when talking about first-round prospects?
“There’s a point of emphasis on specific traits we’re looking for to run what they’re going to run on offense,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said at his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. “When you can get on the same page with the coaches where we recognize that this guy is a good player, but he may be a very good starter in this scheme but may not be a really good starter in another scheme, you have to marry that up, and that’s why it’s so important for us on the personnel side to understand what the requirements are for these players at their position.”

Going into the draft with some fluidity on the offensive line is important. Bradbury’s versatility would allow Minnesota to better utilize its current personnel.

The 6-foot-3, 306-pound lineman made his biggest impact as a college prospect at center, winning the Rimington Trophy (given to the nation’s top center) as a senior, but he also has experience playing guard. In the NFL, Bradbury projects as a fit at either position.

The Vikings have three options to start at left guard in Week 1 between Brett Jones, Danny Isidora and Aviante Collins. Bringing Bradbury into the mix allows the Vikings the option of moving Pat Elflein back to guard, where he played for three seasons in college, and sliding Bradbury in to fill his spot. Bradbury could also be a candidate to fill the hole at left guard while newly-signed Josh Kline holds down the spot to the right of Elflein.

“You have to have the versatility, especially when you’re playing offensive line,” Bradbury said at the combine. “I truly consider myself an interior offensive lineman. Whatever the team needs me to be, that’s what I’m going to be.”

There are, of course, other ways the Vikings can fill holes on the offensive line. Minnesota could opt to go for a tackle at 18 if one of the top prospects is available (though many mocks have Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Andre Dillard and Cody Ford gone by then), and add him to the mix with O’Neill and Riley Reiff. Or they could move their drafted tackle to guard.

Tom Compton Jersey

The Hope Fieldhouse project in Rosemount received another large donation last Friday from Rosemount native and NFL player Tom Compton. Compton—who was born in Rosemount and played football for the Irish—spent last season with the Minnesota Vikings and recently signed with the New York Jets for his eighth NFL season. Compton donated $75,000 to be spread across three years and the facility’s fitness center will be named after him. His donation comes on the heels of a $50,000 gift from the Kirk and Julie Cousins Foundation a few weeks ago from the current Vikings quarterback and now former teammate of Compton, as well as another $50,000 from Minnesota Energy Resources.

Hope Fieldhouse will be a 42,000 square-foot facility that will be by the Community of Hope Church on the corner of Biscayne Avenue and 145th Street. It will feature four basketball courts (three high school and one college-sized) that also hold six volleyball courts and can be divided even further, a fitness center, walking track, locker rooms, concessions and other spaces that will host other wellness-based vendors.

After the donation from Cousins, Hope Fieldhouse was nearly completely funded and a loan has been approved. They plan on breaking ground this spring and be open within five months.

Image result for Tom Compton

“The first I heard about it was from my friend growing up, Josh Shoaf, we went to school together, played football together, and he had reached out to me about what they were trying to get done and as soon as he told me about it I was immediately intrigued and wanted to help out as much as I could because I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “So he was kind of the catalyst in all that.”

He also said that he’s well aware of the space needs facing Rosemount having grown up there and experienced them himself.

“I feel like that’s been a need in Rosemount for a long time,” Compton said. “Just having enough field space for youth sports is huge and especially with our weather here, having something indoors is always nice. It just made sense.”

Compton also said there is a possibility in the future of him and Shoaf holding camps and clinics at Hope Fieldhouse.

Tom Compton has been one of the most successful Coyotes in the NFL, as the 6th round pick of the Redskins in 2012 is about to embark on his eighth NFL season. He started 14 games for the Vikings last year and signed with the Jets in the offseason. He’s also played for Washington, Atlanta and Chicago, and was part of the 2016 Falcons team that fell to New England in the Super Bowl.

Tyler Starr spent parts of two seasons with the Falcons after his seventh round selection in 2014, and played in one game in 2015.

That’s the Division I era for USD, but their D2 history is ripe with draftees.

Mitchell’s Ordell Braase was the second Coyote ever drafted, taken in the 14th round in 1954 by the Colts and parlaying it into a 12-year career that saw him play in two Pro Bowls, win three NFL championships in the pre-Super Bowl era and appear in Super Bowl III, when the Colts were famously upset by Joe Namath and the Jets.

Four years later the Coyotes had three players all taken in the ’58 draft, including Wayne Haensel, who went to the Giants in the 25th round (yes, the draft used to go on forever). Haensel never played in the NFL, but became well-known for coaching USD’s rivals in Brookings from 1982-1990. Haensel went 45-52 as SDSU coach.

John Kohler became USD’s highest pick ever in 1970, taken in the third round by the Broncos after a two-time All-NCC career with the Coyotes as an offensive tackle. Kohler didn’t end up making an impact for Denver.

Defensive back Mike Slaton was taken by the Vikings in the ninth round in 1986 and saw action in one game for them in ’87, while running back Chul Schwanke was taken by the Rams in the 11th round of that same draft, but never played for them.

The Vikings have spent big bucks in free agency on offensive linemen without great success. Alex Boone and Andre Smith, signed in 2016, each lasted one season and Mike Remmers, signed in 2017, stuck around for two. At least Riley Reiff, signed to a five-year, $58.75 million contract in 2017, looks as if he’ll be around for a third season.

The Vikings last month signed free agent Josh Kline to a three-year, $15.75 million contract to likely take over for Remmers at right guard. They signed Dakota Dozier to a minimum contract, and he hopes to be in the mix for Tom Compton’s previous job at left guard. Compton wasn’t offered a deal to return, and signed with the New York Jets.

But more help is needed to protect Kirk Cousins. According to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings gave up the most quarterback pressures in the NFL in 2018.

Dan Bailey Jersey

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that the Vikings re-signed Dan Bailey to a one-year, $1 million contract, per a source informed of the deal. The pact is worth a max of $2 million with incentives. The only guarantee in Bailey’s deal is $250,000 of his base salary, per Pelissero. The Vikings later announced they had agreed to terms with the kicker.

Bailey joined the Vikings in mid-September last season after the team jettisoned rookie Daniel Carlson. The 31-year-old Bailey converted 21 of 28 field goal attempts, with a long of 52 yards, and 30 of 31 extra point attempts in 14 games in 2018. The former Dallas Cowboys kicker is coming off the two worst seasons of his career, netting 75 percent of his field goals each of the past two years.

Minnesota has struggled with its kicking situation for years, but with the low-guarantee deal for Bailey, Mike Zimmer’s squad will stick with a veteran kicker who currently sits No. 5 all-time in field goal rate (86.6 percent).

One of the best six-year stretches for a kicker in NFL history preceded an up-and-down two years for Dan Bailey. From 2011 to 2016, Bailey connected on 89.5 percent of his field goal attempts for the Dallas Cowboys. In the past two seasons, however, he has made just 75 percent of his kicks, comfortably below the league average.

Bailey, once a premier kicker, is unemployed due to his recent struggles. But he’s still the fifth-most accurate ever at the position. At 31 years old, he seemingly has many years left.

Dan Bailey is gone. The club decided to cut the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history and keep a fourth tight end who was in jail when the day began.

No direct link exists between the decision to release Bailey and keep Rico Gathers, who was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. But it does underscore what a strange, unpredictable day it was at The Star.

And this is just the start. More personnel moves will follow in the next 72 hours as the club massages its roster for opening day. The biggest decision will be if Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick (Guillain-Barre syndrome) should be placed on injured reserve or carried on the active roster without a clear idea of when he can return.

While Frederick’s status with the club continues to unfold, Bailey’s does not. A brilliant Cowboys career has come to an unceremonious end.

Veteran Dan Bailey was signed in Week 3 to be the Vikings’ savior and provide stability after the disastrous three-miss outing in Week 2 from rookie Daniel Carlson, but Bailey offered more of the up-and-down play fans have grown accustomed to since they released veteran Ryan Longwell in 2012.

While Bailey went 30 of 31 on extra points, an area where predecessors Blair Walsh and Kai Forbath struggled, the 30-year-old missed a career-high seven of his 28 field goals, matching his 75 percent mark from 2017 when the Dallas Cowboys decided they’d likely move on from Bailey.

“I think, given the circumstance, on a personal level, I came in and thought it went OK,” Bailey said on Minnesota’s locker-clean-out day. “Definitely the last month personally, and then just as a unit, the whole operation with field goal and everything, I felt like we were really kind of gelling and working well. So I think it’s definitely trending upwards. There’s definitely a few kicks I’d certainly like to have back, but overall I think coming in with the situation the way it was, there’s a lot of positives to take away from it.”

The Vikings went 3-2 in games when Bailey missed field goals and 0-1 when he missed an extra point. He had a field goal blocked in a close game at Seattle that the league admitted should have been a leverage penalty on Bobby Wagner.

It didn’t help that Bailey missed two kicks in Philadelphia in just his third game with the Vikings, creating some apparent early distrust with the head coach. Bailey later missed from 48 and 56 yards in the the first half against the Green Bay Packers, prompting head coach Mike Zimmer to tell NBC’s Michele Tafoya that he’d be going for two points in the second half instead of putting the game in the hands of a kicker.

Some have questioned whether Bailey’s issues would be the final straw for special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, who has gone through three punters and four kickers in four seasons, but the Vikings are reportedly interested in an extension for Priefer, the Vikings’ special teams coordinator since 2011. Priefer spent a lot of time working on holding with punter Matt Wile, who may have been the cause of some of Bailey’s mishits.