The Vikings 4 Likeliest Outcomes in Round 1 of Draft

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The Minnesota Vikings and all other NFL teams are embedded in the second wave of free agency, but draft hints are evident.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has five draft picks on the menu for April 27-29, a number that could expand because of the young executive’s ardor for trades.

The Vikings 4 Likeliest Outcomes in Round 1 of Draft

Yet, now that the Vikings offseason plan has come into focus, there’s a four-way debate about how Adofo-Mensah will proceed in Round 1 of the draft.

These are the theories ranked in ascending order of likelihood.

4. Trade the Farm for a QB

The Vikings 4 Likeliest
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The idea has accrued unbelievable steam this week. Credible mock-draft personalities have envisioned Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker — it’s a reach, but who’s counting? — to the Vikings with the 23rd pick. A couple of outfits have found ways to mash Kentucky’s Will Levis onto the Vikings roster via draft night tumble or trade up the board.

Or the Vikings could explore Florida’s Anthony Richardson if he experiences an Aaron-Rodgers-from-2005 draft plunge.

Because the Vikings have not extended incumbent QB1 Kirk Cousins beyond 2023, Adofo-Mensah will likely be forced to trade up a draftboard in 2023 or 2024 for “his guy” at QB. It really doesn’t matter if that’s now or one year from now. The price will be comparable.

He could kickstart life-after-Cousins as early as April 27th by trading a mini-king’s-ransom for Levis, Richardson, C.J. Stroud, or Bryce Young. It’s all the buzz at the moment.

3. Stay Put at No. 23 and Draft CB

Another Pundit Piles
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Vikings CB Additions in 2023 —
? Byron Murphy

Vikings CB Subtractions in 2023 —
? Cameron Dantzler
? Patrick Peterson
? Duke Shelley
? Chandon Sullivan

This ain’t good. Minnesota’s defense ranked 31st in the NFL per passing yards allowed in 2022, and it has since become skinnier at cornerback. There’s a plan somewhere in Eagan to fortify the CB room, but it is not apparent on March 24th.

Marcus Peters, William Jackson, Shaquill Griffin, Eli Apple, and Rock Ya-Sin are available on the free-agent wire, but if Adofo-Mensah signs zero of those players, he absolutely must use his first pick of the draft on a cornerback — and maybe even the second one, too.

Keep an eye on the Vikings CB dealings in the next five weeks because a CB draft party could be mandatory if Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans are the only corners on the roster April 26th.

2. Stay Put at No. 23 and Draft WR

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches a pass during Ohio State football’s pro day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus on March 22, 2023. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Like the need for another starting cornerback, the Vikings also need an Adam Thielen replacement. There are four options for that assignment as of March 24th:

  1. Promote KJ. Osborn to WR2
  2. Sign Odell Beckham
  3. Trade for Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tee Higgins, or “other”
  4. Choose one early in the 2023 NFL Draft

The possibilities for No. 4 would be Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Zay Flowers (Boston College), or Jordan Addison (USC).

For now, it’s more likely that the Vikings use their first pick on a wide receiver because Beckham is the only viable WR2 in free agency. The aforementioned Peters, Jackson, Griffin, Apple, and Ya-Sin could slide in for CB2 services easier than a new WR2 at his spot.

1. Trade Down — Out of the No. 23 Pick

Vikings GM Will Soon
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Not everyone will love this — folks absolutely bemoaned trading with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers when Adofo-Mensah did it last year — but it’s probably en route to occurring again.

How to stack draft picks on top of the skimpy five total? Trading back.

Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell described the “sweet spot” of the draft last year as the late-1st-Round to early-3rd-Round. Minnesota only has one pick in its self-defined sweet spot.

Trading back could tabulate 2-4 picks in “the zone.” Adofo-Mensah was willing to pass on safety Kyle Hamilton with the No. 12 pick last year to add Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, Ed Ingram, and Brian Asmoah instead.

You better believe he’ll be willing to pass on the next big-name guy at No. 23 to stockpile more draft capital. We’ve seen him do it.

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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