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Best Vikings draft fits, Part 4: Defensive tackles

During the lead up to the NFL draft, we will be looking at the players from each Minnesota Vikings position of need who would be the best fits in the first or second round plus one sleeper pick who might be available later in the draft. The fit is based on playing style, production, NFL Combine results and realistic possibility of being selected…for Part 3, we look at wide receivers: 

Part 1: Cornerbacks can be read here

Part 2: Offensive linemen can be read here

Part 3: Wide receivers can be read here

Best case scenario pick: South Carolina, Javon Kinlaw

Because of his pass rush prowess, Kinlaw has a case for being the best defensive tackle in the class but with other positions like offensive tackle, cornerback and receiver offering value in the first round, there is a chance he could drop to the late part of the first round. Last year he produced an impressive 38 pressures in 352 pass rush snaps, per PFF data, and ranked second in the draft class in pressure rate. At 6-foot-6, he has the length to create problems for offensive linemen and his athleticism makes him dangerous — though an injury at the Senior Bowl kept Kinlaw from participating in the NFL Combine. If Kinlaw is available for the Vikings, they would be solidifying a position that’s been in flux since Sharrif Floyd suffered a career-ending injury.

Missouri, Jordan Elliott

The 6-foot-4, 302-pound interior D-lineman earned second team All-American honors after leading his team with 10 tackles for loss and earning the second highest PFF grade of any interior player in the SEC. Per PFF, his pressure rate led all interior defenders in 2019, with 34 in 290 pass rush snaps. While he did not wow at the NFL Combine, he showed impressive burst with a 10-yard split that ranked in the 86th percentile at the position.

Under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have looked for rushers from the three-technique position who are quick and have above average athleticism. They also value pressure more than sack production in the draft, which should put Elliott on their radar.

Texas A&M, Justin Madubuike

Photo credit: USA Today

Another interior rusher who was successful at putting pressure on the QB. According to PFF data, his two-year pass rush grade placed Madubuike in the top 10 in the country at the position with 41 pressures on 343 rush snaps last season. At 6-foot-3, 293-pounds, he is not overwhelmingly large but he is blazing fast and strong. At the Combine, he put together a 4.83 40-yard dash (97th percentile), ran a 88th percentile 3-Cone and benched 31 reps (81st percentile). Those numbers certainly got the attention of the Vikings, who lacked quickness at the position last season after the exit of Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson.

TCU, Ross Blacklock

Being “undersized” isn’t a problem for Blacklock when it comes to a potential fit with the Vikings as the 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle created 30 pressures on 323 pass rush snaps, per PFF. Known as a raw prospect with “rare movement skills,” the Vikings’ staff would have to work to refine his pass rush tool box. wrote: “His technique and hand usage need work, as he’s inconsistent holding the point and keeping his feet.” At the Combine he backed up high expectations by running a 4.9 40-yard dash and posting well above average broad jump and 10-yard split.

Oklahoma, Neville Gallimore

An ascending player that hasn’t yet reached his peak, Gallimore improved in his PFF grade each season with the Sooners and proved to be a difference maker last season with 32 pressures on 320 pass rush snaps. At the Combine he flashed the quickness that he can bring to the NFL level by running a 4.79 40-yard dash (98th percentile) but did show some weakness when it came to drills that required agility. With other interior defensive tackles Jaleel Johnson and Armon Watts continuing to develop, the Vikings could afford to pick a player who has raw talent and requires some work with Andre Patterson before making a big impact.

Sleeper: Arkansas, McTelvin Agim

For three straight years the former five-star prospect out of high school has seen his PFF grades and pressure rates increase. Last season he posted 28 pressures on 267 pass rush snaps and played both three-technique and nose tackle for the Razorbacks. He produced impressive numbers at the Combine for his size (6-foot-3, 309-pounds), running a 4.98 40-yard dash and benching 27 reps. PFF’s draft guide reports that he has impressively developed pass rush moves, which could intrigue the Vikings’ coaching staff.


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