Dustin Baker’s Predictive 7-Round Mock Draft for Vikings

Dustin Baker's Predictive 7-Round Mock Draft for Vikings
Vikings Draft

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah embarks on his first NFL Draft as NFL general manager this Thursday, a new man for the assignment after 16 years of Rick Spielman.

Of course, NFL drafts — even for a single team — are impossible to predict, but consider this a full predictive mock draft for the 2022 Minnesota Vikings.

Note: This is a set of predictions — not a writer’s wishlist.

The event for Minnesota begins with a trade involving the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Vikings Get: 20th Overall Pick (R1), 52nd Overall Pick (R2)

Steelers Get: 12th Overall Pick (R1)

Accordingly, the Vikings draft is as follows after the swap. Pittsburgh selects Kenny Pickett with the 12th overall pick.

1st Round, Pick 20

Trent McDuffie (CB) Washington

Sep 4, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Trent McDuffie. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The recent energy by fans for McDuffie comes to fruition. Hell, some draft insiders say the Vikings enjoy McDuffie as much as Derek Stingley Jr., who was the fans’ source of fascination for six weeks.

Stingley Jr. will be gone by the 12th pick, so Adofo-Mensh trades down for McDuffie, a man with a marvelous collegiate resume.

For 2023 planning purposes, the Vikings only have Cameron Dantzler under contract for starting corners. Now, with McDuffie, the anxiety is reduced.

2nd Round, Pick 46

Jalen Pitre (S) Baylor

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears safety Jalen Pitre.Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Shield your eyes — Harrison Smith won’t play forever. Plus, nobody knows if Camryn Bynum’s theatrics for a few games in 2021 were a long-term certainty.

Pitre hedges both bets and makes the Vikings deeper at safety. Quietly, three days before the NFL Draft, Minnesota is skimpy at safety — and folks don’t seem to care.

Adofo-Mensah bolsters the safety room.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid ranks Pitre as the 24th-best football player in this draft class. Badda bing.

2nd Round, Pick 52

Quay Walker (LB) Georgia

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Quay Walker (7) works to wrap up Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trey Sanders.

Walker is the fruit of the proposed Steelers trade.

Indeed, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks will be terrific in 2022, but who are the spot-starters if either man is injured? Email us that answer.

There are none, unless one believes Troy Dye or Blake Lynch are silently waiting to emerge.

Behind Nakobe Dean and Devin Lloyd, Walker is the third-best off-ball linebacker in the draft. He essentially replaces Anthony Barr, restarting the clock of youth.

3rd Round, Pick 77

Trey McBride (TE) Colorado State

Colorado State senior tight end Trey McBride carries the football during a game against Nevada.

We fully understand Irv Smith Jr. should break out in Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

But what if he doesn’t? What if he’s just a decent tight end — or he falls injured again? Tyler Conklin plays in the AFC, and Johhny Mundt is not a TE1.

Like many other Vikings roster spots, tight end is a depth-chart need in the shadows.

And don’t look now, but the Vikings would steal the best tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft. We’re here for it.

5th Round, Pick 156

Alex Wright (EDGE) UAB

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama-Birmingham defensive lineman Alex Wright. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not to be confused with the terrible WCW wrestler from the ’90s, Wright will add depth to the EDGE section of the depth chart, outfitted with Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, D.J. Wonnum, Patrick Jones II, Janarius Robinson, and Kenny Willekes.

Hunter and Smith are the billboard dudes, but Wright will join the wait-and-see guys for pass rushers. Between Wonnum, Jones II, Robinson, Willekes, and now Wright, someone has to effectuate an Everson Griffen-like rise to prominence, right?

6th Round, Pick 184

Mykael Wright (CB) Oregon

Oct 2, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Oregon Ducks cornerback Mykael Wright. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

All of the Spielman late-round gift boxes begin flooding in here.

This is a depth pick. Wright is a slot cornerback that The Draft Network calls a “good athlete who demonstrates good body control, short-area agility, and quickness in coverage.”

6th Round, Pick 191

Cade Mays (iOL) Tennessee

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee offensive lineman Cade Mays. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Look at the guy. His face screams offensive lineman.

Unless Garrett Bradbury totally reverses course, Minnesota will need good interior offensive linemen in 2022 and 2023. Mays is a shot in the dark at finding a reasonable one by Adofo-Mensah.

6th Round, Pick 192

Chasen Hines (iOL) LSU

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State offensive lineman Chasen Hines. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not the LSU rookie you dreamed about for months, but he’s what you get. Just like Mays above, Hines can stiffen the interior offensive line battle this summer, assuming the Vikings new brand of leadership understands the recent woes at the position(s). They better.

A two-year starter at LSU, Bleacher Report explains Hines as a man who “explodes into contact with very good square power to uproot and displace defenders on down, base and angle-drive blocks.”

7th Round, Pick 250

Isaiah Weston (WR) Northern Iowa

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa wide receiver Isaiah Weston. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We had to drop a wide receiver in here somewhere. Otherwise, you guys and gals would never visit VikingsTerritory again. Minnesotans love rookie WRs.

Weston is fun. Here’s why:

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).