Mel Kiper Locks in Vikings Draft Prediction, and It’s Wonderful.

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The Carolina Panthers make the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft in 10 hours — probably Alabama quarterback Bryce Young — and the Minnesota Vikings should announce their selection, if they don’t trade back, a couple of hours after that.

Draft speculation is all over the board for the Vikings. The franchise can go in about 10 different directions without massive surprise from the masses.

Mel Kiper Locks in Vikings Draft Prediction, and It’s Wonderful.

It’s that kind of year, and the Vikings have long-term roster needs at cornerback, linebacker, interior defensive line, plus a side dish of wide receiver and quarterback. And as fans, folks, and pundits submit their final mock-draft predictions, ESPN’s Mel Kiper locked in his Vikings prediction at pick No. 23 — Joey Porter Jr., a cornerback from Penn State.

Mel Kiper Locks in
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One of the draft’s surest bets, it’s a relative longshot for Porter to fall past his father’s team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at No. 17. However, every draft has the DNA to get funky, and if draft forecasters are correct — especially this one. Indeed, there is a world where Porter falls to Minnesota, making his candidacy for the purple too irresistible.

Kiper wrote about the pick, “If Minnesota can’t move up for Richardson or Levis in the teens — and if it doesn’t want to take quarterback Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) here — it should focus on the cornerbacks. Porter is physical and long, and he’ll create more turnovers at the next level than he did in college.”

Bloodline CB
Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) questions a call during Saturday’s NCAA Division I football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on October 30, 2021. © Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Bloodline defensive backs — players whose fathers played in the NFL — just tend to succeed: Patrick Surtain II, Asante Samuel Jr., Antoine Winfield Jr., etc. It’s uncanny and seems destined not to change with Porter, no matter his landing spot. Porter has the size, too, about 6’3.” He can stand to improve via run support, which will arrive to his repertoire in time.

The Nittany Lion would be a wonderful and unassailable pick because everything about his skillset suggests Week 1 game-readiness. At the moment, the Vikings employ Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, newcomer Joejuan Williams, Tay Gowan, and Kalon Barnes at cornerback. They need more beef, particularly of the starter variety. Porter is beef.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings defense ranked 27th leaguewide in 2022 via DVOA, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is expected to draft defensively — as he did last year during his first draft — and Porter would be a resounding start to the event.

If not Porter, other draft frontrunners at the Vikings first pick include Jordan Addison (WR, USC), Hendon Hooker (QB, Tennessee), Deonte Banks (CB, Maryland), and Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia).

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).

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