Minnesota Vikings: Breaking Down Offensive 2017 NFL Draft Picks

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Pat Elflein 2017 NFL Draft
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Vikings added six offensive players in the 2017 NFL Draft, but were they good additions and how do these players fit?

Entering the 2017 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings had two clear needs before them on the offensive side of the ball. With Adrian Peterson and even Matt Asiata departing, they needed to do something at running back. To help whatever back they brought in and Sam Bradford, they also needed to find bodies that could be effective on the offensive line.

Despite not owning a first-round pick, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was able to get good value and Day 1 starters at both spots. What’s more, he was also able to find players that can help to address secondary needs on the offensive side of the ball. Minnesota’s offense, ravaged by injuries in 2016, was a large part of their collapse late in the season. However, the hope is that these moves will both improve and deepen the unit.

So, how can the Vikings picks on the offensive side of the ball contribute in 2017? Let’s take a look in the order they were selected.

2017 NFL Draft
Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) carries the ball during the first quarter of a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 2, Pick 41: Dalvin Cook, RB – Florida State

Instant production found in a first-round talent that dropped to the second round, Rick Spielman does a fantastic job here to find the next predecessor for Adrian Peterson.

Most big boards by position had Cook as a top-three running back in the draft, while some had him as high as the No. 1 back in the draft. Minnesota traded up with Cincinnati to land the running back out of Florida State, pairing him with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. All three running backs on the roster can excel in all fields. Cook may be the most well-rounded back on the depth chart, but Murray adds better pass protection and unmatched production on the goal-line.

Cook’s tape speaks for itself, showing a highly productive player in the ACC that flourished in the spotlight. His best games were against premier talent like the Clemson Tigers, toting the rock 19 times for 169 yards and four touchdowns. Cook also surpassed Warrick Dunn as the leading rusher in Seminole history, while boasting a very underrated receiving aspect of his game.

The Vikings may have signed Murray for the sake of having a stop-gap at the position if they were not able to get the back they liked in the draft, fortunately enough for the purple and gold they saw this premium runner falling down the line. Off-field issues aside, this was a steal pick for Minnesota. If the strong locker room can guide Cook in the right direction in Minneapolis, the sky is the limit for him.