Skip to main content

Vikings draft pick Kenny Willekes shows off his athleticism

The scouting reports may have been off on the seventh-round pick.
Kenny Willekes

New Vikings draft pick Kenny Willekes enjoyed a productive career at Michigan State. The defensive end led the Spartans in tackles for loss (47.5) and sacks (22) from 2017-19 but still had to endure a long wait before the Vikings selected him in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.

For a player that was so productive in college, it's sometimes baffling how they can slip in the draft. However, the answer may lie in Willekes' scouting reports, which labeled him with below-average athleticism.

The process leading up to the NFL Draft clearly irked Willekes and back in March, he posted a video just exactly how athletic he actually is.

At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Willekes pulled off several feats of strength, flexibility and even some gymnastic abilities in the video. Such a display could question what NFL.com's Lance Zierlein was watching when noting that Willekes is a "below-average athlete with plodding foot quickness" and "his movements are slow-twitch and lack suddenness."

Pro Football Focus also questioned Willekes' athleticism in their draft guide saying he is "not an elite athlete" and "lacks high-end burst and explosiveness at the snap."

For what it's worth, Willekes ranked in the 51st percentile among this year's edge rusher class with a 4.87 second time in the 40-yard dash and in the 56th percentile in his 10-yard split. But his 119-inch broad jump shows that he has explosiveness, which has helped his ability to stop the run.

Of course, combine workouts should be taken with a grain of salt as Dalvin Cook was graded as a ninth-percentile SPARQ athlete during his pre-draft process in 2017. If Willekes' can buck his limitations in the same fashion, he might be able to bring "bully ball" to the Vikings' defense.

Next Up

Great Dane Rescue and Sanctuary

Emaciated Great Danes rescued after being found living in minivan

Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin posted that two of the dogs are in "rough condition" and "barely hanging on."

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

2 years since George Floyd's killing, Biden signs exec order on policing

The signing comes on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder by police in south Minneapolis.

earlyseason

Lutsen Mountains owner to buy Michigan ski resort

The Skinner family has operated alpine ski areas in the Midwest for 60 years.

covid

Mayo Clinic, CDC address concerns over monkeypox in the US

The CDC does not currently think there is a significant threat to the general public.

police tape

Charges: Man killed brother, left body in homemade camper for 7 months

James Robert Hess, 48, faces second-degree murder charges for the death of his 52-year-old brother, William Harold Hess Jr.

storm

Minnesota forecast: Hot, humid and severe storm chances

Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard says right now the best chance for storms looks like Sunday/Sunday night.

Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota

Minnesota's biggest Thai festival to be hosted in front of State Capitol

The Thai New Year, or Songkran, is one of the most celebrated holidays in Thailand.

police tape, crime scene

Man dies after being shot in the head in St. Cloud

Investigators believe the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

USATSI_18349907

Uvalde school massacre: MN Democrats call for action, Republicans prayers

The tragedy in Texas has sparked different reactions from Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud man fires shot at police in hours-long standoff, surrenders

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 37, was arrested just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after he surrendered.

New baby zebra at the Como Zoo.

St. Paul's Como Zoo welcomes new baby zebra

The baby is yet to be named, and the zoo is planning an event for visitors to help with the decision.

Related

NFL Draft

Vikings awarded 3 compensatory picks in 2020 NFL Draft

The Vikings now have more ammunition for a draft day trade.

Donovan Peoples Jones

5 sleeper wide receivers the Vikings could take in the draft

A deep class could result in some steals in the later rounds.

Josh Jones

3 potential candidates for the Vikings' first-round pick

After the NFL Scouting Combine, the Vikings have some options at No. 25.

Trey Sermon

5 running backs the Vikings could select in the NFL Draft

Who could the Vikings add to their backfield?

D.J. Wonnum

Vikings add 11 players on the final day of the NFL Draft

The Vikings also added a pair of 2021 picks via trade.

Jacob Eason

Why the Vikings should, shouldn't draft Jacob Eason

The Washington quarterback could sneak into the back end of the first round.

Rick Spielman, Zygi Wilf

5 wide receivers the Vikings could draft in the second round

This year's class should provide talent into the second round.