It’s been a while since I blogged up an installment of “Five Vikings stats.” The fact that the Vikings haven’t played a game since late December might have something to do with that. But today, I decided to bring it back for a special spring edition featuring five noteworthy stats from the draft class.
60.4 — opponents’ passer rating when targeting top pick Trae Waynes.
Pro Football Focus started charting college players last year, and they are not big fans of Waynes, who they felt was a second-round prospect. Why not? He didn’t fare well in many of their metrics. According to PFF, Waynes allowed 50.8 percent of the passes thrown his way to be caught, which ranked 40th among cornerbacks. They said he allowed 14.9 yards per reception, which ranked 107th. And quarterbacks had a 60.4 passer rating targeting Waynes, which ranked 21st. He did impress on deep throws, allowing a passer rating of just 21.9 on those throws. Mike Zimmer voiced concerns about PFF’s work last year, so the Vikings coach would probably argue Waynes is a better prospect than they’re giving him credit for.
481 — school-record tackle total for linebacker Eric Kendricks at UCLA.
In the second round, the Vikings drafted a linebacker who was always around the football in college. In his four years at UCLA, Kendricks twice led Division I-A (FBS) in solo tackles. Last season, when he was named the 2014 Butkus Award winner, Kendricks had 101 solo tackles, which would have been enough for him to crack the top 60 in the nation in total tackles without including his 48 assisted tackles. Kendrick’s 308 career solo tackles are the most in the nation since 2005 per College Football Reference. And his 481 career combined tackles broke a UCLA record that stood nearly 40 years. Kendricks is starting off his NFL career at middle linebacker.
12.3 — run stop percentage for defensive end Danielle Hunter in 2014.
Third-round pick Danielle Hunter had three sacks in 2013 and then just 1.5 in 2014, which isn’t exactly peak production for a defensive end. He is going to need work to transform from a freak athlete to a polished pass rusher. But at least he is a pretty reliable run defender. Hunter recorded 41 stops against the run (not to be confused with tackles) in his final season at LSU, according to Pro Football Focus. That was by far the best among the edge rushers they charted. Hunter finished second in the nation in run stop percentage behind Stanford’s James Vaughters. Zimmer requires that his defensive ends defend the run, too, so the selection of Hunter makes sense.
10 — total pressures allowed by offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings in 2014.
Pro Football Focus recently listed the Vikings selecting Clemmings in the fourth round as one biggest steals of the draft. They loved his work in the running game, as he was their highest-graded offensive tackle there. He graded out well in pass protection, too, though they have concerns about him in that area. He allowed an impressive 10 total pressures in 2014 while playing right tackle at Pittsburgh. But the competition in the ACC was less than stellar, and Clemmings had slip-ups in pass protection at the Senior Bowl, where PFF tagged him with five pressures allowed in 28 snaps.
81 — catches for tight end MyCole Pruitt last season, most in Division I.
The Vikings are excited about this fifth-round pick. Pruitt played at the FCS level at Southern Illinois, but the two-time first-team All-American was the most productive tight end in Division I by many measures. Pruitt led the way in catches with 81, receiving yards with 861 and receiving touchdowns with 13. Minnesota’s Maxx Williams, to compare, was tied for the FBS lead with eight receiving scores. Now, the level of play surely factored into his production. But per PFF, in his one game against an FBS opponent this past fall, Pruitt caught 10 of his 11 targets against Purdue for 136 yards.