The 2020 NFL Draft is chock full of familiar names. It’s loaded with children of former NFL players. This is fun to see for multiple reasons.
First of all, it is intriguing just seeing where these kids land. Will they end up playing for their pops’ old team? Maybe they end up with his former rival? The possibilities are endless. When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings, there aren’t just father/son connections. It goes much deeper. There are also a couple of brothers of Vikings who are available in this year’s crop of collegiate talent.
Here’s a breakdown of all the players in the 2020 NFL Draft who have a familial connection to a current or former Minnesota Vikings’ player.
Trevon Diggs is one of the more well-known prospects on this list. He’s the little brother of Vikings’ wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Trevon is a former wide receiver, turned cornerback for the Crimson Tide. He had a very productive career during his time playing ball in the SEC. He had 68 tackles, and 7 interceptions in college. He’s got great size at 6’2 and 207 pounds. He also has good overall speed, with a quick backpedal, and slick hips. The best part about Diggs is that he is a former wide receiver who understands what the man he’s trying to cover will be doing. It gives him a huge advantage.
Diggs definitely doesn’t lack confidence either, and told the media at his Combine press conference that covering his brother in the NFL would be “easy”. Gotta love that swagger. Diggs does have a fairly good chance of ending up in Purple. After the Combine, he’s been a popular pick mocked to the Vikings in the first round. Most Vikings fans would love to have another Diggs on the team and God only knows the Vikings could use a cornerback with his overall ability.
Shane Zylstra is a bit of a lesser-known prospect in this year’s Draft, but he’s one with a strong connection to the Vikings. Any Vikings fan will certainly recognize that last name. His brother Brandon played for the Vikings in 2018 and hung around the practice squad the year before that. He has since left and joined the Carolina Panthers and is battling for a spot on their depth chart in 2020.
Shane Zylstra has what the Vikings need in their receiving crops and that is size. Zylstra is 6’5 and weighs in at 215 pounds. He played college ball at Minnesota St. Mankato which was also the home to Vikings’ star wideout Adam Thielen. Zylstra is likely going to be undrafted this April, but is a guy, who like his brother, could work his way onto a team’s practice squad and eventually make an impact.
Thaddeus Moss is the son of arguably the greatest Viking of them all, Randy Moss. Thaddeus doesn’t have his dad’s explosive speed or ups, or lanky frame for that matter. This Moss grew much differently. Thaddeus is 6’3 and 249 pounds. He played tight end for the LSU Tigers and hauled in 47 Joe Burrow passes last year for 570 yards and 4 touchdowns. He decided to declare for the Draft and despite not being able to workout at the Combine due to some recent surgery, is expected to still be drafted in that Round 3 range.
Unfortunately, it’s doubtful he ends up with the Vikings. Tight End is one of the deepest positions on the Vikings and there is no way in Hell they add a rookie to the mix. Vikings fans will just be hoping that Thaddeus doesn’t end up in the division, as nothing would be worse than seeing the son of Randy Moss play for the Packers, Bears, or Lions.
Antoine Winfield Jr.
This one is pretty easy to figure out. Antoine Winfield Jr. is the son of Vikings all-time great cornerback, Antoine Winfield. He doesn’t play the same position as his old man, though he could. He primarily played safety for the Golden Gophers and despite his short stature was a big play just waiting to happen. Winfield had 172 tackles, 4 sacks, and 9 interceptions in his college career. That’s extremely impressive. He has been studying the game since he was a youngling and understands the nuances of not just defenses but also offensive schemes.
At the Combine, Winfield flat out said he’d love to play for the Vikings. Vikings fans would also love to have him. The biggest concern is that if he’ll be there for them in the second round. Choosing him at pick 25 is probably a little bit rich, but if he was there in the second, the Vikings would be wise to snatch him up giving their secondary a big-time playmaker.
JR Reed is one of the lesser-known prospects on this list but he shouldn’t be. He’s the son of one of the members of the “3 Deep” receiving corps and that is Jake Reed. JR doesn’t play offense like his pop, in fact, if they were on the field together he’d be covering him or trying to lay him out. JR plays a position the Vikings need quite badly and that’s safety. He played his college ball at Georgia and amassed 199 tackles in his career with 9 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 5 interceptions. He’s 6’1, 194 pounds and moves very well, which showed at the Combine with his 4.54 forty yard dash.
There is a chance he ends up with the Vikings. As we mentioned before, Reed plays safety and the Vikings currently just have Harrison Smith on the roster. Reed is projected to come off the board right around the middle of the Draft and is someone the Vikings could consider in the fourth round or so. Having the son of a former Viking legend on the roster would be huge fan service, and Reed would be much more popular than the average mid-round rookie.