Vikings Double Dip on Defense in Sporting News Mock

Mar 2, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson (LB28) participates in drills during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2023 NFL Draft is 15 days away, and the Minnesota Vikings could plot a 1st-Round path about 10 different ways during the event.

Minnesota has long-term roster needs at cornerback, off-ball linebacker, interior defensive line, and perhaps wide receiver.

Vikings Double Dip on Defense in Sporting News Mock

And with mock-draft season nearing a finish line, Sporting News believes Minnesota will act defensively, much like the club did last year in general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first year on the job.

SN‘s Vinnie Iyer published a full mock draft Wednesday, and these were the Vikings spoils.

Trenton Simpson (LB) | Clemson

Round 1

Vikings Double Dip
Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson talks with media during midweek interviews at the Poe Indoor Facility in Clemson Tuesday, October 11, 2022. © Ken Ruinard / USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This 6-foot-3, 235-pounder could immediately step into the Vikings defense and start alongside second-year defender Brian Asamoah. Minnesota lost Eric Kendricks in March, releasing the longtime linebacker after eight seasons. Kendricks will play for the Los Angeles Chargers in September, adjacent to his UCLA collegiate stomping grounds.

On Simpson to the Vikings, Iyer wrote, “The Vikings have a big void in the middle of their defense. They should covet Simpson’s toughness and speed with which to cover a ton of ground and make plenty of plays in coverage and against the run.”

Simpson began the draft lead-up higher than the No. 23 pick a few months ago, but mock drafters seemed to eventually realize that off-ball linebackers are becoming a lesser premium need.

Vikings fans would instantly love Simpson’s skillset.

Deonte Banks (CB) | Maryland

Round 3

Another Pundit Piles
Nov 5, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Deonte Banks (3) reacts following a play during the third quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Well, the Vikings need cornerbacks, so this one checks out.

What’s weird, though, is Iyer’s placement of Banks. There is very little chance that Banks falls to Round 3. In fact, most draft analysts foresee his selection in the 1st Round, so Banks even getting to the Vikings with “the Simpson pick” could be miraculous.

Moreover, there’s a universe where these Sporting News choices could flip — Banks to Minnesota with the 23rd pick and perhaps a shuffle down the board for Simpson to Round 3. On the whole, both men should be gone by the end of Round 2, but Banks is likely to be selected before Simpson.

Regardless, Banks’ toolkit is exactly what Minnesota needs — a Day 1 starter, big, physical, mean, and able to effectuate man-coverage. The Vikings 2022 “shell defense” or bend-don’t-break era is done with Brian Flores in charge, but to actionize Flores’ aggressive philosophy, corners must shut down their man. Most believe Banks can do that — or eventually do it with maturation.

The Others

Oct 1, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins wide receiver Rakim Jarrett (1) catches a touchdown as Michigan State Spartans cornerback Charles Brantley (0) dives during the first half at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Round 4: Rakim Jarrett (WR) | Maryland
Round 5: Jalen Redmond (DL) | Oklahoma
Round 6: Michael Wilson (WR) | Stanford

Because Adofo-Mensah likes to trade picks like a child’s baseball cards, he’ll probably have more than five picks before the event is complete. If he does not, using 40% of the draft bank on wide receivers is a bit strange but not impossible.

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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