vikings-cook-5-year-draft-grades

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles runs for 71 yards against the Michigan Wolverines during during fourth quarter action at the 2016 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Florida State defeated Michigan 33-32. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings had an 8-8 record in 2016 but ended up without a first-round selection in the 2017 draft due to their trade for quarterback Sam Bradford right before the start of the season. Still, they exited the draft with 11 selections.

What resulted was somewhat of a mixed bag with one big home run and a lot of duds.

It’s time to look back five years later and grade the 2017 draft for the Vikings.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (2nd round, 41st overall)

What ended up being the first selection for the Vikings in 2017 was by far their best pick as well.

Minnesota was looking to inject life into a running back room that didn’t have a mainstay following the departure of Adrian Peterson and traded up seven spots to get Cook, who has done just was the Vikings wanted.

Cook was the third running back selected behind Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, who were chosen in the top eight (Cincinnati, which traded down with the Vikings, took the fourth at No. 48 – Joe Mixon). There’s a case to be made he’s panned out better than the two taken before him given that Fournette has been more of a secondary piece on Tampa Bay’s offense the last couple of years while McCaffrey has played just 10 games total in the last two years combined.

Cook has been a vital cog for Minnesota, piling up three straight years of over 1,100 yards rushing.

Five years into his career, Cook is a critical part to the operation for Minnesota’s offense now and moving ahead into the future. It was a brilliant pick by the Vikings.

Grade 5 years later: A

Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State (3rd round, 70th overall)

Elflein’s career started in promising fashion after he started 14 games at center for the Vikings in his rookie campaign and was part of the All-Rookie team. It was a downward spiral after that.

The former Buckeye missed time in 2018 due to a shoulder injury and in ‘19 was kicked over to guard, where he struggled. In Elflein’s defense, the Vikings as a whole struggled up front and the offensive line has remained an area of concern for the last handful of years.

After it didn’t work out at left guard the Vikings tried Elflein at right guard and the results were stale. He was released during the 2020 season.

Minnesota traded up for Elflein in the draft and after a solid first year, the results after that were deflating.

Grade 5 years later: C+

Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa (4th round, 109th overall)

After a tremendous career in the Big Ten, Johnson had mixed results with the Vikings.

It was difficult for Johnson to carve out a consistent role on the interior of Minnesota’s defensive line and he served in a heavy reserve role in his first three seasons. When Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19, it opened up a starting role for Johnson.

He started all 16 games that year and piled up 44 combined tackles along with 1.5 sacks. Still, Minnesota let him walk after that season.

Grade 5 years later: B-

Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan (4th round, 120th overall)

Gedeon received every opportunity to take a starting spot and run into the future but the results didn’t quite deliver.

The former Wolverine started nine games in his rookie season, eight in his second year and five in Year 3. Gedeon’s best year came in 2018 when he racked up 53 combined tackles and played in 15 games with eight starts.

Gedeon started the 2020 campaign on the physically unable to perform list. He was waived in November.

Grade 5 years later: D+

Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida (5th round, 170th overall)

Adams played in one game – and had no receptions -- for the Vikings and was put on the practice squad for the duration of his rookie season. He was signed by Indianapolis to a reserve/future contract in 2018 but never suited up in a regular-season game.

He has bounced around to other teams since but has never recorded a catch in the NFL, playing in just one game for Chicago last season.

Grade 5 years later: F

Danny Isidora, G, Miami (FL) (5th round, 180th overall)

Over a two-year stretch with the Vikings, Isidora started in just three games. He was primarily a backup on the offensive line and was traded to Miami in 2019 for a seventh-round selection in the 2020 draft. Isidora has bounced around on practice squads for many teams ever since.

Grade 5 years later: F

Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech (6th round, 201st overall)

Hodges had a very productive college career, tallying 133 receptions and 20 touchdowns in three years with the Hokies. It never translated to the NFL.

Minnesota drafted Hodges in 2017 and he never suited up for them. He was released that September. Hodges made pit stops with three other teams but never got into a regular-season game.

Grade 5 years later: F

Stacy Coley, WR, Miami (FL) (7th round, 219th overall)

Like Adams and Hodges before him, Coley never caught a pass for Minnesota. He did, however, return punts and kicks on a part-time basis in 2017 and for some of the 2018 season before he was released. For that, it can’t be considered a total flop of a pick although Coley never recorded a reception in the NFL for any franchise.

Grade 5 years later: D

Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL, Northwestern (7th round, 220th overall)

Of the four players taken by the Vikings in the seventh round in 2017, Odenigbo by far had the biggest impact and interestingly enough, it came in his second stint with Minnesota.

Odenigbo spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad and was waived in 2018. He was claimed by Cleveland the next day then went to Arizona a month after that.

It wasn’t until 2019 that Odenigbo made his way back to the Vikings and was eventually elevated to the active roster in Week 5 of that season. The disruptive defensive lineman went on to tally seven sacks for the Vikings and even had a defensive touchdown. The following year he recorded 3.5 sacks. He signed with the New York Giants in March 2021, but they released him before the season. Odenigbo returned to the Browns but is currently a free agent.

Grade 5 years later: B-

Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State (7th round, 232nd overall)

Lee never suited up in a regular-season game for Minnesota and he was plucked off the practice squad in September 2017 by San Francisco.

Lee’s best year came in 2018 when he piled up 65 combined tackles and a sack for the 49ers. He’s since played for Cleveland and Detroit, mainly on special teams.

Grade 5 years later: F

Jack Tocho, CB, North Carolina State (7th round, 245th overall)

Like many others drafted in 2017 by the Minnesota Vikings, Tocho never made a dent with the franchise.

Tocho bounced around from being on the practice squad to being released by the Vikings in 2017 and ‘18. Following his final release by Minnesota, he went on to be signed and cut by Washington and Pittsburgh but never saw the field in regular-season action for either. Tocho played in the AAF, was drafted in 2020 by the XFL, which folded before play began, and again in 2022 in the USFL but failed to report.

Grade 5 years later: F

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