Reviewing Vikings visitors: Offense

It wasn’t a surprise to see some of the names attending the Vikings’ “top 30” predraft visits – they were at positions of need. We review what they did in college and how they might fit with the Vikings, if at all.

At least 15 prospects have been reported as part of the Vikings’ top-30 predraft visits. Here’s a look at what they’ve done in their college careers.

David Johnson, Running Back, Northern Iowa
Johnson appeared in 49 games and started 34 of them. During that time he recorded 866 carries for 4,687 yards and 49 touchdowns. He also caught 141 passes for 1,734 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns. Johnson also made an impact on special teams, recording 438 yards and a touchdown on 12 kickoff returns.

Johnson may lack elite top-end speed, but he has the power and size required to carry an NFL workload. He is also quick out of his stance and has the ability to accelerate quickly through the hole.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Adrian Peterson situation and if the Vikings do decide to trade him, Johnson could be a running back they look to target in the draft. He will be able to step right in and be a starting running back, and his skill set complements the skill set of Jerick McKinnon very nicely.

There is also the possibility that the Vikings bring Johnson in even if Peterson is still on the roster. Then work with him and groom him into what would eventually be Peterson’s replacement.

Maxx Williams, Tight End, Minnesota
Williams played just two seasons at the college level, and during that time he started in 19 of the 25 games he played for Minnesota. He recorded 61 receptions for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The 2015 tight end draft class is a weak one to say the least, and Williams is the biggest bright spot in it. He has a unique skill set that allows him to line up both as a traditional tight end and in the slot as a receiver.

He possesses great hands, quick feet, good acceleration, the ability to cut back when he needs to, and raw athleticism. That athleticism was showcased in Minnesota’s bowl game against Missouri when Williams hurdled two defenders on his way to the end zone.

The Gophers are a run-first, pass-second type of offense and have not had very good quarterback play over the past few years, so it will be interesting to see what Williams will be able to do with a quality signal caller under center.

Williams will likely be drafted in the late first or early second round and it is hard to imagine that the Vikings will use one of those picks on a tight end, especially since they already have five tight ends already on their roster, including Kyle Rudolph.

Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver, Missouri
Green-Beckham played his entire college career at Missouri, but technically finished up his career at Oklahoma. While at Missouri, he recorded 87 receptions on 134 targets for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The 6-foot-5, 237-pound wide receiver has impressed many scouts during offseason workouts, especially at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He has good speed and agility for a player his size, and when in the open field can often outrun defenders. His size also gives him the ability to fight off defenders and allows him to block defenders out when he goes up to make a catch. He also possesses strong hands that give him the ability to make difficult catches.

The problem with Green-Beckham is that he comes with a mountain of off-the-field issues that caused him to be released from Missouri’s team in 2014. It all started his freshman season when he was arrested, along with two of his teammates, for possession of marijuana.

He was later arrested for possession of marijuana again in January of 2014. Then in April 2014, Green-Beckham allegedly forced himself into an apartment and pushed a girl down at least four stairs. He was not arrested for the incident, but it did cause Missouri to release him from their football team.

It is well-known that the Vikings are looking to provide Bridgewater with more weapons on offense. If they do draft Green-Beckham and he is able to stay out of trouble, he could be a weapon Bridgewater is able to take advantage of for years to come.

However, it is not likely the Vikings will take a big risk on Green-Beckham following the situation they have been in with Peterson the past year.

A.J. Cann, Guard, South Carolina
Not only is Cann one of the best guards in this year’s draft, but he might also be one of the smartest offensive linemen. He has been calling blocking schemes for South Carolina since he was a sophomore. Because of this, there are many scouts who are thinking he might be able to be moved to the center position in the NFL.

Cann possesses excellent athleticism for a big man and displays good explosion off the line of scrimmage. He is very nimble when he gets into the open field and has the ability to maintain blocks while keeping his stride when he rolls out on traps or pulls.

Cann is also very durable as he is just the second player in South Carolina’s history to start at least 50 games.

His abilities will not serve well in a finesse-style scheme, as he is considered to be more of a brawler. If he is put in a system where he can utilize his raw power and be is able to maul the defender in front of him, he should have no problem succeeding in the NFL.

The Vikings are in need of a new starting left guard after they released Charlie Johnson earlier in the offseason. Cann is likely going to be the first guard off the board, but likely will not be drafted until the second round. If Cann falls to them in the second round, he would be a very good pickup for the Vikings.

T.J. Clemmings, Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Clemmings is still a raw talent, as he did not start playing football until his junior year of high school. He wasn’t even an offensive lineman when he first arrived in Pittsburgh, but a reserve defensive end. It wasn’t until 2013 that he was moved to the offensive line, and he has excelled in his new role.

Even though Clemmings is still inexperienced, he shows a good awareness and does a better than average job at picking up blitzes and stunts. He also appears to have a clear understanding of what his blocking assignments are.

The Minnesota Vikings are set for their starting tackles, but still need to add quality depth. Clemmings could be the type of player that the Vikings draft and use primarily as a backup. Then work on fine-tuning his abilities during practice in hopes that he could one day compete for a starting job.


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