There’s An Ideal Vikings Draft Pick

Mock Draft Darling
Oct 15, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Deonte Banks (3) intercepts a ball meant for Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Andison Coby (10) during the second half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL draft is one of the fascinating parts of the NFL year. Unpredictability and surprises make it a great event every year; the weeks and months before are filled with intriguing speculations and daily rumors.

For fans of the Minnesota Vikings that unpredictability is even more the case in 2023 than in recent years, nobody knows what the decision-makers will do with their top draft choice. The Vikings will be on the clock with the 23rd overall pick, barring any trades.

There’s An Ideal Vikings Draft Pick

The most popular picks in mock drafts and among fans are wide receivers, a fan favorite pick is Zay Flowers from Boston College. Some like Mazi Smith, the defensive tackle from Michigan, others prefer Bryan Bresee at the same position from Clemson. The most exciting pick would be a quarterback, but Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would have to trade up for one of the top guys or settle for Hendon Hooker with the 23rd pick, a player with some red flags.

There's An Ideal Vikings Draft Pick
Nov 5, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Deonte Banks (3) reacts following a play during the third quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Another annual draft option for the purple team is a cornerback. Alex Ballentine from Bleacher Report thinks that the perfect player for the Vikings is Deonte Banks, a cornerback from Maryland.

The Minnesota Vikings made it clear in last year’s draft that they place a lot of value in the secondary. Their first two selections were safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., and they doubled up at corner by selecting Akayleb Evans in the fourth round.

Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

If they really put a lot of value in the secondary or simply tried to fix the mess on the roster will become clearer in the next few years. Minnesota had to do something last year after entering the draft with a horrible cornerback group for the third straight year and they addressed it by selecting Andrew Booth in the second round and Akayleb Evans in the fourth.

Unfortunately, neither one of the duo played a significant role in their rookie years, mainly because of injuries. Booth missed some time early in the year with a hamstring injury and had to be placed on IR in November with a torn meniscus.

Load the Box: Position Battles
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Evans suffered two concussions and also missed the majority of the second half of the season on IR but he had some promising performances, especially against Terry McLaurin, the top wideout of the Washington Commanders. The duo combined for 267 snaps on defense.

Brian Flores, the new defensive coordinator, has to work with a cornerback room filled with Byron Murphy, a top free agent addition, and the duo of 2022 rookies as his top starting candidates, in addition to the recently signed Joejuan Williams, Tay Gowan, and Kalon Barnes. None of the three should be in a competition for a starting gig. The group desperately needs some help in quality and quantity.

Minnesota could consider a receiver, but there’s a better chance it can find a No. 2 option in the third round than a corner, so Deonte Banks is the choice.

Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

Indeed, impact receivers can be found easily in round three, the Vikings should push that position of need to Friday and address the defense first, especially if there’s a top CB prospect on the board like Deonte Banks.

The 6’0″, 197-pounder ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 42-inch vertical at the combine. He has all the physical tools and traits of a shutdown cornerback and drew a comparison to Byron Murphy Jr. from Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings.

The Vikings signed the former Cardinal this offseason, so Banks likely also fits the profile they seek.

Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report
Nov 19, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Deonte Banks (3) breaks up a pass for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) during the first half at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Banks is an absurd athlete. His RAS, or relative athletic score was 9.99, the best possible number is 10.0. He has the physical tools to be an elite cornerback after some time to develop. Banks is a candidate to start in Week 1 of his rookie campaign and would be a fantastic pick.

After selecting Banks, the Vikings have three young CBs in the room and could start the one that develops best. The chance that one of the three talented guys will be decent is high.

Only the Detroit Lions gave up more passing yards than the Vikings in 2022 and backup QBs regularly looked like future Hall of Famers against Ed Donatell’s unit. That weakness must be addressed and the organization started by parting ways with the defensive coordinator and four starting cornerbacks.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt