Vikings Already Beat the Packers in 2022
On the second day of the first draft in newly hired general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s career, the Vikings started into Round 2 with pick 34, the second pick of the round.
As usual, many interesting players are available after the conclusion of the first round. Andrew Booth Jr., a first-round talent who plays a position of need, cornerback, is just one example. The Vikings ended up drafting him with pick 42. Another intriguing prospect was Malik Willis, the Liberty quarterback. He is a talented passer who is still raw and has to learn a lot to become an NFL signal-caller. It possibly would’ve been the most exciting selection. Willis ended up with the Titans, who added him in the third round to their roster.
After already trading away the first draft pick of his career, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected the Georgia safety Lewis Cine with pick 32 instead. He earned harsh criticism after the first day of the draft, not because of the player he selected but because of the compensation he got in return and who the trade was with. The division rival Detroit Lions traded up with the Vikings to choose Alabama star wideout Jameson Williams.
The Lions received picks 12 and 46, while the Vikings received picks 32, 34, and 66. The trade transformed into a big argument, and it turns out that value can have different definitions.
What makes this trade so interesting is that ‘new-school’ and ‘old-school’ have different views about it. In the ‘Jimmy Johnson model’ and the ‘Rich Hill model,’ the Vikings lose this trade by a lot. They lost the value of a third-round pick while trading down with a divisional rival, which was unheard of since trading up normally costs additional draft capital. These models view draft picks as trade objects. They function like “What did it cost to acquire a certain draft pick in recent years?” and try to put a price tag on the draft pick.
Meanwhile, the analytical-driven models, like the Fitzgerald-Spielberger model and the PFF model, don’t look at the cost of the pick but rather at the outcome of the pick — how valuable a certain pick is, based on the success of players recently selected at the position. The Vikings gained value in the trade that equals a fourth-round selection.
It’s a complicated thought process. The Vikings sold their assets for less than usual but can expect to get more out of the trade than what they gave up.
Vikings Beat the Packers
Unlike the trade with the Lions, the Vikings won the trade with the Packers on all charts. They received picks 53 and 59, while the Packers received the 34th choice, which turned out to be Christian Watson, the North Dakota State receiver. Two third-rounders for one third-rounder is a marvelous haul for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
The Packers lost a lot of draft capital in the trade, no matter which trade chart was used to evaluate it. The Vikings later traded back up to select Andrew Booth Jr, who likely was a possible target at the 34th position.
However, trades on draft day can not be evaluated until years after the draft. It’s impossible to predict the careers of rookies. If it were easy, Kirk Cousins would not be a fourth-rounder, Danielle Hunter not a third-round selection. The Eagles would’ve never selected Jalen Reagor instead of Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen’s career would’ve been different after a top-ten selection instead of attending a tryout for the Vikings as an undrafted player.
Draft Picks Are Connected
If either Jameson Williams or Christian Watson become stars in the league, Vikings fans have to hear it as long as they play, unless a draft pick of the Vikings becomes a star, too. The Vikings’ rookies will forever be linked to the Williams and Watson.
However, Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. have a lot of potential themselves and will contribute early in their careers. Williams could have a slow start to his NFL career because of a torn ACL. Watson played at North Dakota State, and he could need some more time to get acclimated to the speed of NFL defenses. Cine, meanwhile, played in Georgia. Practices in Georgia against elite college competition, in addition to games in the SEC, have formed Cine into a pro-ready prospect. The same can be said about Booth, who played in the ACC in Clemson.
Overall, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah started into the draft with three draft picks in the first three rounds. However, because of the trades, he could secure four players in those three rounds. All four of them are likely to contribute in their rookie seasons. Cine, Booth, and Ingram should be in contention for starting spots. At the same time, Brian Asamoah will probably be a special teamer and rotational linebacker as a rookie, with the potential to start in future years.
Without the trades, it would´ve been impossible to select four players with just three picks. Now it is important to develop the rookies, form them into the best version of themselves and let them make an impact on the field.
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brought in young players at positions of need which will make the team better short-term and especially long-term. The Packers lost their first encounter with the new Vikings regime.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who has a fable for numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Arguing about the Vikings on Twitter is one of his favorite things to do. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt