General manager Rick Spielman started the NFL Draft’s final round on Saturday afternoon by taking defensive end Kenny Willekes from Michigan State.
He continued by taking quarterback Nate Stanley out of Iowa, the franchise’s first late-round pick on a passer since John David Booty was taken in 2008’s fifth round.
Stanley was drafted with the 244th overall pick in the seventh round, which is the range they’re targeting priority undrafted free agents. Due to the lockdown, Spielman said the Vikings’ stash of late-round picks alleviated stress about competing to sign undrafted guys.
Willekes (6-3, 264 pounds) was dominant for the Spartans, leading the defense in tackles for losses in 2017 (14.5) and 2018 (20.5). A broken fibula kept Willekes from leaving college early, so he returned last fall and again led the Spartans defense in production.
He was taken with the first of four seventh-round picks, including Stanley, safety Brian Cole (Miss. St.) and guard Kyle Hinton (Washburn).
Cole (6-2, 213 pounds) rejoins former Mississippi State teammate Cameron Dantzler, the third-round corner drafted by the Vikings on Friday.
Hinton (6-2, 295 pounds) was also a decorated track and field athlete at Washburn, where he started at left tackle but was announced as a guard by the Vikings.