Top Draft Prospect Linked to Vikings May Be Gone in Top 5

Dustin Baker's Vikings Mock Draft 1.0
Vikings NFL Draft

Never mind the notion of Derek Stingley Jr. falling to the Minnesota Vikings with the 12th overall pick.

The man may be gone in the draft’s Top 5 – or Top 3.

Just one day away from the 2022 NFL Draft, Stingley Jr.’s draft stock has skyrocketed, making his prognosis for the Vikings almost laughable, barring total chaos on Thursday night.

BetMGM listed Stingley Jr. as the odds-on favorite to be selected third in Round 1. 

Stingley Jr. has encountered a turbulent odyssey this draft season. Out of the gate in January, the LSU alumnus was a Top-15-or-so pick, not embraced in totality by the masses because of a Lisfranc injury. A few weeks ago, though, Stingley Jr. pulled off a fabulous Pro Day, showcasing the speed to prove his injury history is overblown.

Derek Stingley Jr breaks up a pass as The LSU Tigers take on Central Michigan Chippewas in Tiger Stadium. Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. LSU Vs Central Michigan V1 7424

So, the steady climb to the draft’s Top 10 began for Stingley Jr. And that’s when the Vikings dabbled in the draft hype. If he was a fringe Top 10-er, Stingley Jr. could reasonably fall to Minnesota at #12, especially if a couple of quarterbacks were “reached for” by the time Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made his 1st-Round selection. 

But now, the anxiety on Stingley Jr.’s transition to the pros is so dull that he’s commanding Top 3 sportsbook odds. Just like Ahmad Garnder in March, Stingley Jr. climbed the mock-draft boards with ease – and is likely to be gone before Minnesota even sniffs his draft candidacy.

The Vikings will still need a cornerback, probably in Round 1 or 2. Trent McDuffie (Washington), Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson), and Kaiir Elam (Florida) should be attainable at #12 for Minnesota or a trade down, a theory gaining steam as of late. 

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

Overall, defense is on the menu for Thursday and Friday, at least according to draft pundits. The Vikings have a strong offensive depth chart, outfitted with Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Irv Smith Jr., and Kirk Cousins. On defense, however, depth is thin, and some spots like free safety are currently left up to chance.

When the Vikings choose a prospect on Thursday at #12, it will be their highest draft choice since 2015.

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).