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Antoine Winfield Jr., Vikings

Should the Vikings follow Mel Kiper’s lead by drafting Antoine Winfield Jr.

Mel Kiper Jr. released his second mock draft for the 2020 NFL Draft and he has the Minnesota Vikings selecting Golden Gophers standout Antoine Winfield Jr. Winfield Jr.’s dad was a standout for the Vikings, and Kiper Jr. gave the following reason why the match would make a lot of sense.

“Yes, this is the son of that Antoine Winfield, who was drafted by the Bills in Round 1 in 1999 and played nine seasons for the Vikings. The junior Winfield had seven interceptions last season, and while interceptions can sometimes be misleading as a projection tool for prospects, he was more than a ball hawk; he also had 88 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Winfield showed great range and instincts at the position, and I really liked watching his 2019 tape. Let’s hope he’s past the hamstring and foot injuries that prematurely ended his 2017 and 2018 seasons for the Golden Gophers. Safety might not appear to be a priority position for the Vikings, but they have salary-cap issues and could lose Anthony Harris to a big offer in free agency.”

The last line by Kiper Jr. is the key to why it would make a lot of sense for the Vikings to draft Winfield. The Vikings currently are projected to have $-12 million in cap space, according to spotrac.com.

The number one priority this offseason should be to sign Anthony Harris, but with the cap space, that might not work out. If the team can bring him back, they could always try to trade away Harrison Smith, who has a cap hit of at least $10 million each of the next two seasons, to try and save some money and get back some more draft capital.

All the talk around Winfield Jr. is about his dad and what he did in the NFL, but some believe the son could end up with a better pro career than his dad.

Winfield Jr. was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2019, and for good reason, he was the anchor of the Golden Gophers defense. He is a playmaker who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

Two years in a row, Winfield Jr. had the game-winning interception to seal the game against Fresno State. The only real knock on Winfield is his speed, but his instincts make up for a lot of that and should continue to be a difference at the next level.

A lot of who the Vikings select will come down to what happens during free agency, but it would make a lot of sense for Winfield Jr. to be in the same purple and gold that his father wore.