Theme Stays Defense, Vikings Land Linebacker and Defensive End in Day Two
CHICAGO, IL -- The Minnesota Vikings continue to focus on the defensive end in the 2015 NFL Draft after selectingUCLA middle linebacker Eric Kendricks in the second round and LSU Defensive End Danielle Hunter.
The picks fills the need for a Vikings defense that finished 25th in the league against the run last season and has not had a playmaker in the middle since E.J. Henderson retired following the 2011 season.
The 6-0 232-pound Kendricks lacks ideal size for a "Mike" linebacker, but makes up for it with incredible speed, instincts, and effort.
Kendricks, brother of Philadelphia Eagles middle linebacker Mychal Kendricks, is also considered to be one of the best pass-coverage linebackers available in the draft.
The 23-year-old Kendricks earned second-team All-American honors and won the Butkus Award for the best linebacker in college football last season. He went on to perform very well at the NFL combine -- running a 4.61 40-yard dash, with a 38-inch vertical jump and 22 bench press reps.
Kendricks will join former UCLA teammate Anthony Barr in a young and athletic Vikings linebacking corps.
Rick Speilman continued his trend of trading down to acquire more draft picks, which has been a theme of his over the last few years.
The Vikings traded their third round pick (76 overall) with Kansas City for the 80th pick and a six round pick (193rd overall). They traded back again for the 88th overall pick and a fifth round selection (143rd overall) with the Lions.
Hunter is an interesting pick. He is a project in the making but has good pass rushing skills that Zimmer can no doubt mold as a possible replacement for Brian Robinson over the next several years.
He was also tied from second among edge rushers in this draft class with a 12.3 Run Stop percentage.
The Vikings still have many holes to fill, so we will see what the final rounds have to offer.
Minnesota Vikings 2015 Draft:
1 (11). Trae Waynes - CB - Michigan State
2 (45). Eric Kendricks - LB - UCLA
3 (88). Danielle Hunter - DE - LSU