Rodney Adams: An exciting mystery for the Minnesota Vikings

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Rodney Adams
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Rodney Adams /

Rodney Adams has the potential to be a dynamic threat for the Vikings, but he and the team have a lot of work to do to make that a reality.

A fifth-round pick out of the University of South Florida, Vikings rookie Rodney Adams carries a level of intrigue uncommon to those drafted in his position. With 4.44 speed, impressive quickness, and an innate feel for carrying the football, Adams provides the Minnesota Vikings with a home-run threat on an offense that could desperately use another.

Gaining 1,956 total yards and scoring 20 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, Rodney Adams was one of the premier weapons for a talented USF Bulls team that saw multiple players drafted in 2017.

Of course, as is the case with all late-round draft picks, Adams’ game comes with just as many question marks as it does selling points. With Adams, most of the questions revolve around his ability to effectively transition into a professional offense—adjusting to a new playbook and running a complete route tree.

To say that Adams’ college offense held him back is an understatement. While many prospects enter the league with incomplete route trees, Adams’ was astoundingly limited. With Adams taking reverses and running almost exclusively screens, posts, and flys, the South Florida star’s usage made Cordarrelle Patterson’s college film look complex.

USF valued Adams’ ability to create yardage so highly that on many plays he served as nothing more than a safety valve, waiting behind the line of scrimmage in case the quarterback needed to get rid of the ball. Rather than throwing the ball away, they would simply dump it off to Adams and hope that he could make something happen. Of course, this meant that on a significant portion of USF’s passing plays, Adams simply stood idly by.

More often than not, the electric receiver rewarded this questionable strategy, breaking off big runs and bailing the offense out when necessary. Adams wasn’t asked to do much in college, but now he will have to prove that he is capable of taking on a more diverse workload.

Just because Adams wasn’t asked to run advanced routes in college doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a bad route runner for the Vikings, it just means we don’t know exactly what he’s capable of. The 6’1″ receiver was impressive on deep routes in college, and if he can channel his agility into other routes he could turn into a far more polished player than anyone would’ve expected.

The highlight tapes coming out of Winter Park are already hinting that Adams’ “untapped” potential might actually be a little more tapped than previously thought.

The short videos from the Vikings offseason practices show Rodney Adams already displaying skills superior to anything he ever showed in college.

It’s obviously wildly irresponsible to put much stock into short practice clips from May, but the highlights go to show that we really have no idea what kind of player Rodney Adams is or will become.

With a highly intriguing set of physical tools and limited practical experience, Adams faces the daunting task of reinventing his game in a new, more advanced offense. If he’s going to succeed, the 189-pound Adams will have to prove in the coming months that he can handle press coverage, run a full route tree, and adjust to the speed of the NFL.

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The player Adams will become remains a mystery, but it’s clear that he has the talent to become a powerful weapon for the Vikings if all goes right. For now, expect Adams to contribute immediately as a special teams ace and gadget player as he continues to learn and develop.