Mel Kiper Brings It Full Circle for Vikings

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ESPN’s Mel Kiper started his mock-draft cycle with one man for the Minnesota Vikings, and after a couple of deviations, he’s back where he started.

That’s the selection of cornerback Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State University. Kiper left the Vikings as-is for draft placement at the No. 23 pick and envisioned Forbes to Minnesota, hoping to fortify a currently skimpy CB room.

Mel Kiper Brings It Full Circle for Vikings

The Vikings employ Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans as startable corners at the moment, and Forbes would be on tap for a starting job this summer if Kiper is correct.

Mel Kiper Brings It
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Kiper wrote in his latest mock, “Cornerback is a clear need area for Minnesota, which replaced Patrick Peterson with Byron Murphy but has plenty of available corner reps. Forbes needs to grow into his 6-1 frame — he weighed in at 166 pounds at the combine — but he is a great cover corner.”

The 166 pounds is bizarre, no matter how one rationalizes it.

“He had six career pick-sixes in college, and he never missed a game because of injury. He needs to be more consistent, but he has outstanding instincts and his ceiling is high. The Vikings also could target a wideout to complement Justin Jefferson with this pick,” Kiper concluded.

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In January, Kiper echoed a similar sentiment when selection for Forbes to the Vikings, “Rookie second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. played in just six games due to injury, and he’s not a lock to start. Whoever takes over for fired coordinator Ed Donatell needs options. Forbes was an interception magnet for the Bulldogs; he had 14 over three seasons, including six in 2022. He gave up a few big plays, but he has tremendous potential as a cover corner.”

Mississippi State has produced some top-notch NFLers since 2010, including Darius Slay, Fletcher Cox, Dak Prescott, Chris Jones, Preston Smith, Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat, and K.J. Wright, among others. It’s also the school where the Vikings found Cameron Dantzler, who was waived last month, three years ago.

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The Vikings defense needs all the help it can get, especially in the secondary. Five cornerbacks — Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Chandon Sullivan, Kris Boyd, and Dantzler — have departed this offseason, while the aforementioned Murphy is the only newcomer. Minnesota is either sitting on an impactful plan to sign some free-agent CBs like Rock Ya-Sin or Shaquill Griffin or will draft cornerbacks early and often at the end of the month.

Forbes is known for versatility and intelligence, with the slight frame as his major perceived weakness.

Kiper has also mock-drafted wide receiver Quentin Johnston (TCU) and cornerback Deonte Banks (Maryland) in previous iterations before re-landing on Forbes.

The NFL draft is 16 days away.


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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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