The Forecast for Vikings 1st-Round Draft Selection Is ‘Screaming’

The Forecast for Vikings 1st-Round Draft Selection Is 'Screaming'
Vikings Fan

Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings possess a glaring need to improve on defense. The offensive playmakers — Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr. — are there, but the defense is filled with aging or injury-prone players.

So, mock draft pundits foresee the Vikings selecting a defensive player with the first pick of the night on April 28th. In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper said this week the Vikings forecast “screams corner.”

Mel Kiper Taps 2 Prospects for Vikings in Latest 2-Round Mock Draft
Mel Kiper

For months, Minnesota has been linked to Ahmad Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr., both cornerbacks, for draft theories, and that vibe has only intensified less than two weeks before the event.

Specifically, Kiper said about the Vikings in the first round:

“It just screams corner. You look at Sauce Gardner being gone. Derek Stingley Jr. if he’s there, and knowing we’ve all targeted Minnesota with Stingley will someone trade up to get Stingley?”

Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN

Trading up for a non-quarterback is decreasing in prevalence leaguewide, but, in theory, anything is possible if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is totally locked on Stingley Jr. It’s probably more likely, though, for Stingley Jr. to fly off the board before the Vikings select at #12, causing the new Vikings bossman to trade back with a team like the Los Angeles Chargers or Pittsburgh Steelers. Then, Adofo-Mensah could maximize draft picks while drafting a cornerback like Andrew Booth Jr. or Kaiir Elam later in Round 1.

Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021. Clemson U Of Sc Football In Columbia

Currently, the Vikings employ these corners on the depth chart:

  • CB1: Patrick Peterson
  • CB2: Cameron Dantzler
  • CB3: Chandon Sullivan
  • CB4: Nate Hairston
  • CB5: Kris Boyd
  • CB6: Harrison Hand
  • CB7: Parry Nickerson
  • CB8: Tye Smith

That unit is indeed one prominent cornerback away from “getting with the times” for CB depth inside an ever-evolving pass-happy league.

In the same conversation, Kiper also nominated Trent McDuffie from Washington as a viable option for Minnesota if Stingley Jr. is gone. McDuffie’s draft stock has climbed, like Garnder and Stingley Jr.’s, in recent weeks.

The last time the Vikings chose 12th in a draft, the team selected quarterback Christian Ponder.

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).