The Rookie Class
The Vikings have actually gotten quite a bit of run out of their 2019 rookie class through the first quarter of the 2019 season. Their first-round pick Garrett Bradbury has started every game at center and his performance so far has been mixed.
He has done a pretty good job in the running game and he has been able to get to the second level many times to spring a key block for Dalvin Cook. He tends to get overpowered in pass protection and is coming off the worst game of his career against the Bears. He needs to bounce back in a big way starting this Sunday against the New York Giants.
Alexander Mattison has been pretty impressive so far in his rookie season. The third-round runner has been a nice change of pace to Cook and he has done well when given the rock.
He has tallied 137 yards on the ground with one touchdown and he has also caught one pass for eight yards. He runs extremely hard, shows good burst, and he doesn’t go down on first contact. His role could grow as the season wears on.
Irv Smith Jr. has caught a few balls in recent games. He’s a nice long and lanky target who moves very well after the catch. If the Vikings passing game was a bit more effective, his numbers would likely be much more impressive than the five receptions for 64 yards he’s currently at.
Bisi Johnson caught the first four balls of his career in the Bears game last week. He ran nice routes and showed very reliable hands. He could be someone who begins to carve out a larger role in the weeks to come.
The Vikings have had some other rookies see the field this year as well. Most notably, cornerbacks who have struggled badly and long snapper Austin Cutting, who has been quiet, which means his snaps have been on point.
The Vikings have gotten decent production out of their rookie class in the first four games of the season. The next step is turning that production into big plays that lead to victories.