The Numbers Game! Each player, number by number, on the Vikings roster! **Listen below to the #92Noon segments for the on-air version.
Here's the synopsis:
21 - Mike Hughes -- 2018's 30th overall selection is still getting right after suffering a torn ACL in his rookie campaign. So we still aren't exactly sure what we have in the UCF star, and when we'll have it. Had the pick-six against Jimmy G and the Niners in the season opener, which we love. The plan, I believe, for the long term is that he's one of your starting outside corners. In the meantime, he can be seen working off to the side with a trainer at camp, testing his surgically repaired knee. This also creates some serious depth issues and urgency for figuring out who can help at the CB position if Waynes, Rhodes or Alexander were to get nicked up. Jayron Kearse showed he can step into that "big nickel" role nicely, but it gets reallllly thin after 26 & 29 outside. If Mike is the future, that means they should take their time in getting him back to 100%. That leaves a void.
22 - Harrison Smith -- It's the Hitman. He's 30, but still one of the best safeties in the game. Had 3 picks and 3 sacks to go with a bunch of tackles in 2018.
23 - RB Mike Boone -- Tough spot for Mike here. Dalvin will be flourishing in the Stefanski/Kubiak(or "Stefubiak") system, the team drafted Alex Mattison in the third round and re-signed Ameer Abdullah. Plus, the thick cut of CJ Ham will certainly be in the mix. Practice squad, probably.
24 - Holton Hill -- Already looking at a 4-game suspension for PEDs, Hill was tagged with an extra 4-game ban for substance abuse....this sort of behavior and irresponsibility is what got him in trouble at Texas and is why he went undrafted. It makes Mike Hughes' recovery more painful, it destroys what little corner depth the team had and is a blatant slap in the face to a team that invested money and faith in him to get his off-field life in order. He'll be on the shelf for half the season. I think the team will give him the chance to make it right upon being available, but not sure if it will be because of good faith or simply out of desperate need.
25 - RB Alexander Mattison -- 3rd round pick out of Boise State, he got a ton of carries and scored a bunch of TDs on that lame-colored field out west. He looks great in camp so far and I'm excited for him to add wrinkles for the offense. A little bit bigger than Dalvin Cook, but I think he can be used in some similar ways to Cook. Won't be as stark a change with him in the game as it was when switching from Dalvin to Latavius Murray last season. Really excited about this draft pick and making the run game great again.
26 - Trae Waynes -- I hope this isn't Trae's last season with the Vikings. He was the best overall CB for the purple last year, I think. Tremendous open field tackling, elite speed that helps if he gets fooled and he's cut down on some of the ridiculous PI penalties that plagued him in earlier years. Depth is a concern at the position, and Trae has found himself missing time on and off. He's also had a few concussions, so I just hope he keeps his head healthy in 2019. At the end of the season, he'll potentially hit the free agent market as a solid corner from a Mike Zimmer-coached defense. $$$$$$.
27 - Jayron Kearse -- Still going to be a backup safety. Still going to mash on special teams. Made some nice plays when he filled in at the slot corner spot in 2018, but never really pushed himself into the starting fold at safety. Anthony Harris will take over for Sendejo, and Kearse will continue to be on spot-filling duty. You like him as a former 7th round pick offering some value, but hasn't evolved into any sort of game changer.
29 - Xavier Rhodes -- I love Xavier and he can still eat WRs for lunch! But, X didn't have his greatest season in 2018. Kept hearing about how rigid he was in turning with receivers, just didn't look like he had the same burst and elite quick-twitch that made him an all-pro in 2017. That needs to be better and he needs to play all 16 games. Feels like nit-picking with a guy this good, but some tweaks will put him right back in elite territory.
30 - CJ Ham -- Hard to believe he's already entering his 4th season with the Vikings. Undrafted 2016, it could be argued he has offered more value than the team's first round pick that season....Only one career touchdown, but tremendous work as a fullback, blocking, can catch out of the backfield. Appears to be an incredibly hard working, intelligent player. Curious how Stefanski will use him differently in the offense this season. I believe the team keeps 4 RBs, with him being one of them.
LISTEN BELOW for PA's thoughts & #92Noon's on-air analysis with the Numbers Game!: