Michigan State Football: Kenny Willekes’ slide halted by Vikings in 7th round

Kenny Willekes, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Kenny Willekes, Michigan State football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Vikings finally stopped the slide of Michigan State football’s Kenny Willekes in the seventh round. He joins Kirk Cousins in Minnesota.

When Day 2 passed and there were still no Spartans chosen in the 2020 NFL Draft, the consensus feeling was that Kenny Willekes would likely be the first name off the board along with Josiah Scott early on Day 3.

Well, Scott was chosen in the fourth round by the Jaguars, keeping Michigan State’s 80-year draft streak alive, and it took until the seventh round for another Spartan to hear his name called and it just so happened to be Willekes with the No. 225 overall selection by the Minnesota Vikings.

The long wait was shocking considering Willekes was a 4-5 round graded player with the possibility of slipping into the sixth, but no one expected round seven.

Willekes is coming off an incredibly productive season where he finished with 78 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and a career-high 10 sacks which is impressive considering he was fresh off a broken leg injury suffered in the Redbox Bowl the year before. He had the option of going to the draft after his junior season but returned and improved some numbers.

Scouts didn’t see him take too many strides in the right direction, however, as Michigan State’s defense, too, took a step back. He went from potential Day 2 material after 2018 to a late-Day 3 pick in this year’s process.

The Vikings took the best available prospect and he’ll likely be in contention to make the roster in the fall and they need defensive end depth.

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Kirk Cousins has to be happy to have another Spartan with him in Minnesota after Trae Waynes hit the market this offseason.