Minnesota is clearly going all in on upgrading what was a decent offense in 2018, selecting center Garrett Bradbury in the first round of the NFL Draft and then taking tight end Irv Smith Jr. and running back Alexander Mattison in the second and third rounds, respectively.
Here are five things about the latter two picks that should get Vikings fans excited.
1. Smith can play all over the field
At 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, Smith didn't play much in 2017 at Alabama because he was stuck behind current Tampa Bay Bucs tight end O.J. Howard. But given a chance to play in 2018, Smith racked up 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns, and the Vikings are planning to use his speed and athleticism all over the field.
“We believe Irv is a perfect fit for our new scheme in terms of a mismatch guy,” said Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson, via the New Orleans Advocate. “He’s a guy we can move around. He can play wide, in tight, in the backfield. He has a lot of versatility and is a great kid.
“We’re sure excited he fell to us.”
2. Experts believe Smith has Pro Bowl potential
Just ask NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, who said this about the 20-year-old tight end.
“He has combination tight end talent but really flashes as a move blocker at fullback or wingback spots. His buildup speed sets him apart as a big, field-stretching option, and once he gets rolling after the catch … Smith offers Pro Bowl potential as a well-rounded tight end prospect.”
3. This highlight shows off Smith's skills
We'll just leave this right here...
4. Mattison's story is inspiring
Mattison, whose stats at Boise State are eye-popping (1,415 rushing yards, 17 TD), comes from poverty. He grew up in San Bernadino, California, where CBS Sports notes that went "couch-to-couch" while his father battled cancer.
While rushing for more than 2,000 yards as a high school junior and senior, he still got straight-As in school and graduated with a 4.8 GPA. You can watch his story here.
5. "Built like a freight train"
According to Pro Football Focus, Mattison "brings a rare combination of size, athleticism and football IQ" to the NFL and is "built like a freight train." The 5-too-11, 221-pound running back forced the third-most missed tackles of any draft eligible back last season.
Here's a good example of how one forces missed tackles.