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Vikings draft highly touted TE Irv Smith Jr, trade down four times in 3rd round

Was Kyle Rudolph's replacement just drafted?

The Vikings added a potentially big-time tight end in the second round of the NFL Draft Friday night, and then selected running back Alexander Mattison, rounding out the fourth round after trading back on four occasions.

Irv Smith Jr., 20, was picked by the Vikings with the 50th overall pick. Smith, whose fater played seven years in the NFL, played college football at Alabama where he racked up 58 receptions, 838 yards and 10 touchdowns in his two years with the Crimson Tide. He was named to the All-SEC Second Team last year.

Here's what NFL.com listed as his strengths and weaknesses heading into the draft.

Strengths:

  • Speed to create immediate strain in the seam or downfield. 
  • Good route strength pushing through the contact. 
  • Effective lead blocker as an H-back or fullback

Weaknesses:

  • Needs to add mass and upper-body strength for blocking duties. 
  • Doesn't always block with consistent effort and strain. 
  • Needs to play faster more consistently

"I believe no linebacker or safety one-on-one can stay with me," Smith said in a conference call with Minnesota media

What's it mean for Kyle Rudolph?

With the Vikings taking a highly touted tight end in the draft, does this mean the team could be moving on from Kyle Rudolph?

On Thursday, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that he "wouldn't be surprised" if New England inquired about Rudolph's availability. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network had the same thoughts following Minnesota selection of Smith.

Tricky Rick

The Vikings ended up making four trades in the third round.

First, Spielman first traded the 81st overall pick (3rd round) for the 88th pick (3rd round) and 209th pick (compensatory pick in 6th round), then dealt the 88th and 209th picks for the 92nd selection (3rd round) and the 159th pick (5th round). 

Not done yet, he traded the 92nd overall pick in exchange for the 93rd pick (3rd round) and 217th pick (7th round) AND THEN traded the 93rd pick for the 102nd pick (last pick of the 3rd round) and two sixth-round picks, Nos. 191 and 193.

Mattison

After all that hoopla, the Vikings selected Mattison out of Boise State. In three seasons with the Broncos, Mattison accumulated 2829 yards, including 1415 this past season while finding the end zone 17 times in 2018.

Here's what NFL.com had to say about him

Strengths 

  • Determined runner who can carry lively legs deep into games. 
  • Outstanding hands out of backfield. 
  • Hits it upfield quickly after catch.

Weaknesses

  • Multi-stepper to make lateral getaways. 
  • Could use quicker recognition of pass-protection duties. 
  • Hand technique needs improvement as blocker

Day 3 of the NFL Draft continues on Saturday with rounds 4-7 and the Vikings currently have nine picks at their disposal:

  • No. 120, 4th round
  • No. 159 5th round
  • No. 190 6th round
  • No. 191 6th round
  • No. 193 6th round
  • No. 204 6th round
  • No. 217 7th round
  • No. 247 7th round
  • No. 250 7th round

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