Vikings First 3 Draft Picks Have Something in Common
Did you notice?
The Minnesota Vikings specifically plucked true-blue winners from the first section of the 2022 NFL Draft. It must’ve been a tactical mindset from new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
Well, all three men reached a National Championship in college — and two of them ended up champions.
Indeed, Lewis Cine, selected in Round 1, won a championship in January as Georgia toppled Alabama. The 2nd-Rounder, Andrew Booth, came damn close in 2021 when the Clemson Tigers fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes. And later in the 2nd Round, Adofo-Mensah drafted En Ingram, an offensive lineman, who won a title with Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, and Ja’Marr Chase in 2020.
That’s the not-so-secret secret. The Vikings added three men with championship pedigrees, or in Booth’s case, oh so close.
Four months ago, Minnesota terminated general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer, preferring a new era in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. Most expected the enterprise to take on an offense-first brand — a popular current trend in the NFL — but Adofo-Mensah used the recent draft to improve on defense.
Three of the first four picks for Adofo-Mensah were defenders — Cine, Booth, and Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah.
Of course, “winning [or reaching] a National Championship” doesn’t directly translate to NFL stardom. Plenty of big-school players have flopped in the NFL. Matt Leinart and Ken Dorsey can tell you all about it.
Yet, the selection of three men from successive National Championship games should indicate a trend. Adofo-Mensah wants winners, men who have triumphed — or came damn close — at the highest levels they encountered. Otherwise, the Vikings could’ve targeted men like Kyle Hamilton and Roger McCreary in Round 1 and then Round 2.
But nope. A pattern has emerged as Minnesota builds a roster around superstar Justin Jefferson, who also won a championship with Ingram two years ago. Men that achieved greatness in college joined the Vikings — one, two, three — down the line.
Now, Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings must hope the other 14 Georgia Bulldogs selected in the 2022 NFL Draft aren’t superior to Cine — especially Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. They were drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
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).