The Vikings Have a ‘Dream Target’ in the Draft

General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in August of 2022 at Minnesota Vikings headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings will have an exciting off-season, considering that the team has to save over $24 million in cap space until the new league year arrives on March 15 and how many ways are available to get there.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has limited resources in the 2023 off-season and has to make every Dollar and every draft pick count. It will be crucial to nail the first-round draft pick. A clear target position is not something the Vikings have yet, mainly because they can fill some roster holes in free agency first. However, some prospects seem to be good fits.

The Vikings Have a Dream Target in the Draft

The purple team could go in many different directions in the first round of the draft. According to Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon, the Vikings have one player they should try to add to their team — Kelee Ringo.

The Vikings Have a Dream Target in the Draft
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Ringo is a cornerback from Georgia and former teammate of safety and 2022 first-round selection Lewis Cine.

Given that Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans are the lone corners under contract in 2023, Minnesota needs impact depth. The perception is Cam Smith, Kelee Ringo and Emmanuel Forbes will be among the best prospects available in the Vikings’ range at No. 23. Ringo is unrefined but showcases elite speed in a 6’2″ frame, which may be an ideal match for Brian Flores’ aggressive defense.

David Kenyon, Bleacher Report

The Vikings employ more than only two cornerbacks. Cameron Dantzler, who is about to enter his fourth year with the Vikings, is on the team just like 2022 rookie Kalon Barnes, one of the fastest players in the league, and Tay Gowan, who was primarily a practice squad member in 2022.

Load the Box: Position Battles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Regardless, the team needs to add help at the cornerback position. The Vikings can’t go into the season with the intention to start Booth and Evans in the two outside cornerback spots. That scenario is a disaster waiting to happen.

Free agency could also be a place to get a few cornerbacks. Both 2022 Vikings starting CBs, Patrick Peterson, and Duke Shelley, expressed their intentions to re-sign in Minnesota. In addition, there are multiple interesting options, like Cameron Sutton, Byron Murphy, and Jamel Dean.

Ringo makes sense if the Vikings want to address the cornerback room in the first round of the draft. He is an outstanding athlete with prototypical size and plays more aggressively than the other Vikings’ CBs in recent years.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ringo needs some development, especially in the mental part of the game. He needs to get better at reading plays, and he has to be more consistent. All of that sounds very similar to Andrew Booth, which will make it very interesting if the Vikings really want to add another developmental cornerback to the mix or if they want to address the position in free agency.

Damian Parson from The Draft Network has high praise for Ringo:

Overall, the CB1 hype for Ringo has lost legitimate steam after the 2022 season. That said, he is at worst a second-round pick. I project him to be a fit for a heavy Cover 3 defense. He can operate with match concepts and be a matchup-specific CB in man coverage. If he can begin to get his head around quicker, I can see his pass break-ups and ball production improving. Ringo looks to be a day-one starter that can protect deep thirds and funnel routes underneath and to the strength of the coverage. Only a two-year starter, he can improve the technical aspects of his game.

Interestingly, Parson’s pro comparison for Ringo is former Vikings star cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The two are big and fast cornerbacks with some minor agility problems. If the Vikings end up with Ringo, and he turns into something even close to the prime version of Rhodes, they would’ve made a phenomenal selection.

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