Publish date:

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

Gopher Football

U of M-barrassed: Gophers shocked by Bowling Green

The Falcons snapped a 21-game non-conference winning streak in front of a homecoming crowd.

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins applies for exemption to COVID vaccine, is rejected

Wiggins could miss a large chunk of the season without the vaccine.

CJ Ham

Vikings-Seahawks: 5 things you can count on happening

Can the Vikings finally beat Russell Wilson?

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Residents asked to be on the lookout for at-large suspect in Sauk Rapids

The suspect was last seen near the intersection of Garden Brook Drive Northeast and Strawberry Court Northeast.

Towerside Innovation District

Aquifer energy storage project wins financial backing of Mpls city council

It'll be used to power the Towerside Innovation District near the U of M.

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 10.02.45 AM

Bomb threat prompts school evacuation in central Minnesota

A search of the building did not find any suspicious items.

Pexels - beer outside patio brewery

Brewery, taproom moving into former Twin Cities newspaper space

Loons Landing officially signed the lease this week.

Vic Richfield auto theft PD - rectangle crop

Police: Car with dog inside stolen from outside Twin Cities liquor store

They're asking people to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

John Hofer - Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Murder charge filed over inmate's death at Chisago Co. Jail

The man suddenly became unresponsive and died while in a holding cell.

Related

NFL Draft

Vikings awarded 3 compensatory picks in 2020 NFL Draft

With 10 total selections, the Vikings now have more ammunition for a draft-day trade.

Josh Jones

3 potential candidates for the Vikings' first-round pick

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

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.

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.

Kellen Mond

Vikings select Kellen Mond with 66th overall pick in NFL Draft

The Vikings took a quarterback with their first pick on Friday night.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 12.36.38 PM

5 second-round cornerbacks the Vikings could select in the NFL Draft

The Vikings could find value if they choose to wait.