Justin Jefferson Minnesota Vikings

Vikings set new record during the 2020 NFL draft

April 30, 2020

The Minnesota Vikings’ 2020 NFL draft haul has been praised as one of the best draft analysts across football media. It was also a historic one. The Vikings set a new draft record with 15 picks, surpassing the previous high of 14 that was set by the Miami Dolphins in 1997 (and tied by the Browns in 2016).

Minnesota had two first-round picks that they used on LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson (No. 22 overall) and TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney (No. 31 overall). Their draft class included three fourth-rounders, two fifth-rounders, two sixth-rounders, and a whopping four picks in the seventh round.

Consider ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. a fan.

“Minnesota came into Thursday night with 12 picks and ended Saturday night with 15 picks, plus an extra fourth-rounder and two extra fifth-round picks in the 2021 draft,” Kiper wrote. “With that much capital, it takes a lot not to get at least an A- grade from me. And really, I like the value the Vikings got throughout, starting with extracting a first-round pick for wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was disgruntled in Minnesota.

“General manager Rick Spielman was able to get the No. 22 pick from the Bills, and he was able to directly address the hole at wideout, taking Justin Jefferson, who is a perfect fit. He’s going to catch a ton of passes from Kirk Cousins out of the slot.”

Pro Football Focus was especially impressed by the selection of Mississippi State cornerback, Cam Dantzler, at No. 89 overall.

“Dantzler is on the skinny side for the position,” PFF’s Mike Renner wrote, “but it never mattered against SEC competition. If he can put on any muscle at all, he’ll be worth more than the 89th pick.”

Here’s the complete breakdown of Minnesota’s draft class:

Round 1, pick 22 (No. 22 overall): Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Round 1, pick 31 (No. 31): Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Round 2, pick 26 (No. 58): Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Round 3, pick 25 (No. 89): Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Round 4, pick 11 (No. 117): D.J. Wonnum, DE, South Carolina
Round 4, pick 24 (No. 130): James Lynch, DE, Baylor
Round 4, pick 26 (No. 132): Troy Dye, ILB, Oregon
Round 5, pick 24 (No. 169): Harrison Hand, CB, Temple
Round 5, pick 31 (No. 176): K.J. Osborn, WR, Miami
Round 6, pick 24 (No. 203): Blake Brandel, OT, Oregon State
Round 6, pick 26 (No. 205): Josh Metellus, S, Michigan
Round 7, pick 11 (No. 225): Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State
Round 7, pick 30 (No. 244): Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa
Round 7, pick 35 (No. 249): Brian Cole II, S, Mississippi State
Round 7, pick 39 (No. 253): Kyle Hinton, OG, Washburn

It’s an impressive haul based on sheer numbers alone. But Jefferson is the headliner who has the potential to become one of the most productive young receivers in the NFL as soon as the 2020 season. He’s the most pro-ready receiver from the 2020 NFL draft class because of his blend of route-running, long speed and physical ability in contested-catch situations.

As Kiper said, it’s hard to screw up a draft class that includes 15 picks. The Vikings certainly didn’t.

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