With no first round pick on the books and a holes to fill throughout the roster, the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in an interesting spot for this weekend’s NFL Draft. Because of the situation and because of the need, the possibility that they might reach or maybe take a chance on a player that has fallen to them for one reason or another might be higher than normal.
Most teams cross troubled players off of their list, drawing a nice firm red line through their name. Could this be the year that the Vikings replace that red market with a yellow one? One that carries with it caution, maybe a bit extra due diligence but one that leaves the door open just in case?
If that is the case, if they are willing to assess players through a different but still very cautious lense, here are three players that bring with them some baggage who might be falling to the Vikings right where they sit at #48 overall…
1. Joe Mixon - RB, Oklahoma
This is the one that everybody is presently honing in on. He carries with him an immense amount of baggage. A few years back video surfaced of Mixon bunching a young woman in the face at the bar. That case just settled this weekend outside of court. Now another rumor, stemming back to highschool, claiming violence from Mixon towards another young women. But then over the weekend one anonymous NFL executive said that Mixon is the best player in this draft. How’s that for a polarizing player? Like it or not, he’s going to get drafted in this draft, the question we’re looking at is whether or not the Vikings, in need of a RB will take a sniff if he gets near their range in the second round? The Vikings were WELL REPRESENTED at the Oklahoma pro day and head coach Mike Zimmer took an opportunity to go a one-on-one walk with Mixon after his drills had wrapped up. They’re certainly kicking the tires but we’ll have to wait and see how interested they actually are.
2. Caleb Brantley - DT, Florida
Another player popped up on the radar over the weekend for an unfortunate battery charge after allegedly striking a woman. A confident power rusher up the middle, Caleb Brantley would be a good fit in the middle of a Vikings defensive line that has some questions regarding the health of Sharrif Floyd. Once thought to be a high second round choice, Brantley’s stock is thought to be dropping after the allegations surfaced this weekend. As it stands now, the case doesn’t look good for Brantley and the upside might not be high enough to explore.
3. Jabril Peppers - S, Michigan
A case that popped up just today, early Monday afternoon, Jabril Peppers has tested positive for a diluted sample at the NFL combine. Arguably the best safety in this year’s draft, Peppers tried to get out in front of the news by saying that he was “overly hydrated” as he wasn’t feeling well during the combine. Peppers doesn’t have a history of substance abuse or failed tests so it will be interesting to see what people think of his overly hydrated claim? All of that aside, he would look really nice in purple opposite of Harrison Smith.
4. Reuben Foster - LB, Alabama
One more player we’ll throw into the mix has had dropping draft stock ever since the college season ended and it could line him up with the Vikings right at #48. Foster was kicked out of the NFL Combine after getting into a “heated altercation” with the medical team. Fast forward to last week and news popped up that Foster failed a drug test at the combine for a diluted sample. Foster offered up the old too much Gatorade excuse also but will enter the league on the substance abuse watch list all the same.