Top Prospect’s Pro Day Is Good and Bad News for Vikings

Vikings Top Prospect's Pro Day Is Good and Bad News
Jul 19, 2021; Hoover, Alabama, USA; LSU Tigers defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. talks with the media during SEC Media Days at Hyatt Regency Birmingham. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

After Ahmad Gardner performed masterfully at the NFL Combine, a problem ensued for the Minnesota Vikings. And that same problem may be on the way for the player Minnesota pivoted to after Gardner.

During the first couple of months of the pre-draft hype cycle, Sauce Gardner was commonly linked to the Vikings as he figured to “be there” for the team’s 12th overall pick in April’s draft. Well, he was so damn good at the Combine that his stock soared, perhaps canceling his availability for the Vikings in Round 1.

Then on Monday, Derek Stingley Jr., a “Sauce replacement” in Vikings mock drafts, was given a clean bill of health and an all-clear for CB-needy team to pounce.

Before the Rapaport tweet, the Lisfranc malady — not a kind one for football players — was a questions mark that could ensure Stingley’s tumble to #12 for Minnesota. Yet, with Stingley’s Pro Day on Wednesday, where he’ll probably shine, he could encounter the Sauce treatment, climbing the draft board while the Vikings can do nothing to stop it.

After Sauce Mania, Vikings Draft Forecast Pivots to Different Defender
Ed Orgeron and Derek Stingley Jr.

It’s bittersweet. Obviously, NFL fans want good health for every player, and a healthy Stingley Jr. likely careens the man into the Top 10, meaning the Vikings could only explore a trade for his services if he is indeed the guy circled on draft purple draft boards.

Patrick Peterson, who re-signed with the Vikings last week, wants Minnesota to draft Stingley Jr. for an at-least-one-year mentorship. The LSU camaraderie is strong. Plus, Daronte Jones is the current Vikings defensive back coach, and guess what? He’s the same Daronte Jones who defensively coordinated LSU and Stingley Jr. last season.

Moreover, the Vikings need a shutdown cornerback for long-term roster planning. Many stars align for Stingley Jr. as Minnesota’s target selection in the 1st Round.

Thankfully for Stingley Jr., his health is back on track, receiving the opportunity to show off for the world on Wednesday at his Pro Day.

Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (7) reacts after making a tackle against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause/The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

But as a Vikings fan — be cognizant. If he goes out there and looks God-like or Sauce-like, his draft candidacy will shoot higher than 12, indicating a trade-up as the only viable method to net his services.

Generally speaking, trading up for non-quarterbacks in a draft is not advisable.

So, the Stingely anticipation is dual-faceted. If he’s demonic out there at his Pro Day, the Vikings will be Sauceless and Stingless on April 28th.

That’s the way it goes, though.


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).