Pro days this month at several college football programs will serve as the de facto NFL scouting combine, which was canceled amid the pandemic.
These trips are where the Vikings personnel department will get the bulk of data from measurements, athletic testing, and position drills for 2021 draft prospects. Medical evaluations, often called the most important piece of the combine, are expected to be scheduled regionally later. Minnesota has the 14th pick on April 29.
The Vikings' roster needs will further crystallize through free agency, beginning soon with decisions coming on the current roster. We've already got our list of the team's five biggest needs to begin March, and five prospects you should knowas pro days get underway.
Need No. 4: Cornerbacks
A veteran addition this month in free agency makes sense for Mike Zimmer, who went as far as to say he hopes the Vikings are set at cornerback for years with Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler. But since when have two been enough for Zimmer's Vikings? Mike Hughes is entering a contract year. Kris Boyd and Harrison Hand may be special teamers. Perhaps a third long-term option will arrive in the draft.
PROSPECTS TO KNOW
Stokes (6-1, 185 pounds) simply made plays at Georgia, where the former three-star recruit was involved on a defensive or special teams touchdown in each of his three years, including pick-sixes against Florida and Arkansas last season. "Stokes has some tightness, but I love his size/speed combination. He has a chance to develop into a solid starter," NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote. Georgia's pro day is March 17.
Adebo (6-1, 190 pounds) opted out of his senior season for the Cardinal, which only played six games anyway. But an impressive two seasons — 27 pass deflections (eight interceptions) and a forced fumble — likely did enough to entice NFL front offices. He's an aggressive corner whom analysts say has ideal size and quickness, but needs to improve vision and play recognition. Stanford's pro day is scheduled for March 18.
Mukuamu (6-4, 205 pounds) is a unique player, from his height to the varied roles he had at South Carolina. He aligned as an outside corner, in the box and at safety, giving whichever NFL team drafts him a look at what he can handle. He had a stellar 2019, including three interceptions against Georgia. The Vikings have questions at both cornerback and safety, and perhaps Mukuamu is an answer. South Carolina's pro day is March 24.
Thomas (6-0, 189 pounds) also opted out of last season, making him a one-year starter for the Wolverines. It was an intriguing 2019, however, with seven deflections (three interceptions) and two fumble recoveries. Thomas prides himself on speed, but there are questions about his size and whether he can guard bigger NFL receivers. His Senior Bowl measurements, including a 76 1/2" wingspan, could help his case. Michigan's pro day is March 26.
Williams (6-2, 196 pounds) is a physical specimen who declared early for the NFL Draft with Orange teammates Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melifonwu. Versatile player in college with starts at outside corner, slot corner and safety. May best project as an outside NFL corner due to his size. "Good awareness, good feet, turns well. All the things you want physically and athletically, he should have. I think another year of experience would've helped him. I think he's a third or fourth rounder," said ESPN analyst Mel Kiper. Syracuse' pro day has yet to be announced.