Vikings taking more chances on players with character concerns lately

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Mike Hughes
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Mike Hughes /

After mostly shying away from players with troubled pasts, the Minnesota Vikings have added a couple of prospects to their current roster with a bit of baggage.

Since Mike Zimmer was hired to be the head coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, suspensions and appearances in the police blotter have not been a commodity for players on the team’s roster.

Zimmer and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman have made a conscious effort to fill the team’s locker room full of high character men and distraction-free players. The philosophy has produced two division titles in the last three seasons, so it’s clearly working.

Recently though, Minnesota has been taking more chances on players with controversial backgrounds.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /

Last season, the Vikings selected Florida State running back Dalvin Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. During his time at Florida State, Cook was accused of multiple crimes including punching a woman in the face (to which he was later found not guilty).

Then Minnesota added veteran wide receiver Michael Floyd to their roster despite the fact that he was expected to serve a suspension for an extreme DUI arrest in 2016.

This year, the Vikings used their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes. Prior to attending Central Florida, Hughes went to the University of North Carolina and ended up getting charged with assault in 2015 after his involvement in a fight at a frat house.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

Following the draft, Minnesota added Texas cornerback Holton Hill as part of their 2018 undrafted free-agent signings. Hill was suspended multiple times during his tenure at Texas and reportedly failed the mandatory drug test at the Scouting Combine last March.

Floyd didn’t work out, but it had nothing to do with any off-the-field problems. Cook has been too busy rehabbing from a torn ACL to cause any trouble and the verdict is still out on Hughes and Hill.

Despite these players making some questionable decisions in their past, the Vikings clearly feel like Zimmer and the rest of the locker room can keep these guys under control.

Minnesota’s head coach does have experience in taming some of the NFL’s most controversial players, including Adam “Pacman” Jones and Vontaze Burfict back when he was the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Next: Projecting the Vikings' final 2018 roster (Post-draft)

The Vikings must figure that if Zimmer could keep those two out of trouble, then anyone else should be a piece of cake.