The 1 Vikings Draft Outcome That Feels Inevitable

Historically Accurate Draft Analyst Predicts Vikings Pick
2021 NFL Draft

The Minnesota Vikings have the following roster needs as of March 27th: cornerback, wide receiver, off-ball linebacker, and arguably interior defensive line.

More free agency is on the way, but the splashy names are predominantly off the board, so the Vikings will “roll with what they have,” sign mid-tier newcomers, or use the NFL draft to get richer via roster talent at starting positions.

The 1 Vikings Draft Outcome That Feels Inevitable

Yet, with the roster coming together in true offseason-puzzle fashion, one draft sentiment remains steady — general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will likely trade the 23rd overall pick. Here’s why.

A Trade Down for Assets

The 1 Vikings Draft
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This is what the man did last year, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again.

Adofo-Mensah traded a 2nd-and 3rd-Rounder for tight end T.J. Hockenson at the trade deadline in 2022, a swap universally revered by Vikings fans. In doing so, he gained a TE1 for the foreseeable and a 4th-Rounder as deal sweetener.

He had to know he’d trade in the draft once again to regain some of that draft capital. The simplest way is to trade the highest commodity for lower-round items — again, just like last year when he stockpiled picks that netted Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, Ed Ingram, and Brian Asamoah.

When you fire up mock draft machines with Minnesota’s 23rd pick, which is fine and dandy, know that the Vikings probably won’t pick at the spot. A trade-down is the safest bet.

A Trade Up for a QB

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Otherwise, with quarterback Kirk Cousins not under contract for 2024, Adofo-Mensah can trade up the board to get his future QB in this draft. The Kansas City Chiefs did it in 2017, and the Green Bay Packers before them — and it worked out wonderfully.

The Vikings trading up on draft night is all the rage right now; it’s as if the NFL body politic realized two weeks late that Cousins was a contractual lame duck. Some believe the Vikings will trade up the board to draft Kentucky’s Will Levis or hop on the Anthony Richardson rollercoaster.

Adofo-Mensah may not be the “figure out the QB situation later when we’re up against it” type, meaning all quarterback draft hypotheses for Minnesota could be correct.

The unlikeliest quarterback scenario in Round 1 of the draft is Levis or Richardson falling all the way to No. 23. Should the Vikings grab a 1st-Round passer at No. 23, it’s probably “reach” territory for Tanner McKee or Hendon Hooker.

The Trade-Happy GM

Adam New’s Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings 
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Listen, Adofo-Mensah “led the draft” in trades last year and didn’t use a single pick organically owned by the Vikings. Thanks to himself and Rick Spielman, every draft pick executed last year was some other team’s original draft capital.

Throughout the remainder of his first year on the job, Adofo-Mensah fired off the second-most trades next to the Las Vegas Raiders. Adofo-Mensah loves to wheel and deal. Would he really just stop during the craziest trade event of the year? Probably not.

The 23rd pick is not safe as the Vikings own.

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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