Rodney Adams – Senior / 6’1″ / 191 – South Florida via Toledo DOB 9/15/1994
2012: High School highlight reel
2015: Western Kentucky
2016: South Carolina, Navy, East Carolina, Syracuse, Memphis, Central Florida
At Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg Florida Adams excelled at WR and QB (in option and Wildcat formations) as well as at DB and as a return specialist. He gained over 1,200 all-purpose yards as a senior. This production garnered him first team all-county and second team all-state. He also represented the USA under-19 National Team in the USA International Bowl Game in Austin, Texas. Florida, Minnesota, and UCF all heavily recruited Adams. After also visiting Cincinnati and Western Kentucky, Adams eventually committed to Toledo.
As a college freshman, Adams only appeared in three games. He had three touches for 20 total yards and two returns for 17 yards. Following the death of his mother, he transferred to South Florida.
Adams found his niche as a situational slot player for the Bulls during his sophomore season. He caught 23 balls for 323 yards (14.0 YPC) and a pair of TDs while appearing in nine games. Further showing off his versatility Adams averaged 20.4 yards on six kick returns. He also added 5 rushes for 52 yards and another TD.
Adams carved himself out a larger role as a junior. He gashed defenses for 816 yards on just 44 receptions for YPC average of 18.5. He chipped in another 11 rushes for 87 yards and another score. He also returned 16 kickoffs for 466 yards (one for a TD), that’s a staggering 29.4 yards per return. That season he had six games with at least 85 yards receiving. He had three 100 yard games (@ UConn 5/118/3, vs. Temple 7/147/1 and vs. Western Kentucky in the Miami Beach Bowl 6/130/1, he also added 5 carries for 45 yards and TD in that bowl game). After the season he was named USF’s most improved player.
As a senior, teams paid a great deal of attention to the containment of Adams. He adjusted by expanding his route tree and working the middle of the field to his advantage. He set a career high in receptions with 67 for 822 yards and five TDs. Adams recorded a career-long 84 yard TD reception versus Florida State. Adams had a career-best nine reception game in a win over rival UCF. He saw a career-high 23 carries for an additional 231 yards and five more TDs, including 92-yard TD run in win over Memphis. He also had 22 kick returns for 534 yards.
Interestingly enough Adams did not return any punts during his college career. The Vikings drafted him in the fifth round (170th overall) to help replace Cordarrelle Patterson. His offensive skills were a bonus to his returner prowess. That seems a little odd until you realize that Patterson himself returned one punt during his four seasons in Minnesota.
The Vikings WR Depth is very fluid right now. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen seemingly have a firm grasp as starters. Veterans Michael Floyd and Jarius Wright are roster bubble players, and it’s highly unlikely both make the team for fiscal reasons. Last year’s first round pick Laquon Treadwell remains a ginormous question mark, but the potential and draft pedigree will buy him extra snaps. The Vikings did carry six WRs for a good portion of 2016.
So if you do the math correctly, Adams stands a chance to be the team’s WR5 as well as a kick return specialist. Seventh-rounder Stacy Coley (WR) returned 47 kickoffs and 25 punts while at Miami yet he only had one return total during his final two seasons with the Hurricanes. Coley also represents a legitimate deep threat. Long shots Isaac Fruetche, Cayleb Jones (Zay’s older brother), Mitch Matthews and R.J. Shelton are likely to battle for practice squad spots. Adams’s KR past is to his advantage. His razzle-dazzle/flanker-like ability could make him the Percy Harvin/CPatt X-factor to the Viking offense.
He is a fluid and elusive runner. His long frame could be a concern as he takes a significant step up in competition level. His blazing 4.44 speed and athletic profile are eerily similar to that of former world-class sprint Willie Gault. Adams also reminds me quite a bit of Hall of Fame WR James Lofton. His sub-seven seconds three cone is not surprising considering the number of ways he was successful in college. He is certainly a project, but he is a mature and grounded person.
The loss of his mother made him recalibrate what life is all about. His play ever since her death has been done in her honor. It’s not a fantasy factor, but he is simply one those kids that are easy to cheer for. Wide receivers come in all shapes and sizes. They even come from all different sized schools and competition levels. You can dismiss Adams and not blink about it for 24 months. Or you could use your last round pick or spend one waiver dollar on him and stash him on your taxi squad just in case.
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