During the 2014 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings made a number of notable, flashy selections. It is no secret that the Vikings expect first round selections Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater to play an important role in the team’s future. However, the Vikings’ fifth-round selection of former Stanford guard David Yankey has been almost completely overlooked.
Offensive linemen tend to be an afterthought in the NFL. This is likely due to the fact that offensive linemen are not flashy players. With exception to the quarterback position, however, offensive linemen may be the most important players on the field. As a result, Yankey could play as pivotal of a role as any of the Vikings’ 2014 draft selections.
After deciding to forgo his senior season at Stanford, Yankey was expected to be a second or third round draft selection. However, the Vikings were able to acquire him with a fifth round selection.
Yankey stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 315 pounds, an ideal frame for an offensive guard in the NFL. Yankey is also considered to be physical, intelligent, coachable and a team leader. These impressive intangibles combined with an ideal physical frame make Yankey a draft steal in the fifth round, especially for the Vikings.
The Vikings’ offensive line situation is fairly stable. Matt Kalil and Phil Loadholt represent top-tier talent at the offensive tackle position and John Sullivan is as good of a center as there is in the NFL. However, guards Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco are average at best. Yankey provides an immediate upgrade to the guard position, making the Vikings’ offensive line even stronger.
Bridgewater will dominate the Vikings draft headlines, garnering most of the media scrutiny and attention in the process, but Yankey may prove to be the Vikings’ best 2014 draft pick in terms of value and should not be an afterthought as so many offensive linemen are.