Dustin Baker’s Vikings Mock Draft 2.0 — 2023

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The Minnesota Vikings possess five picks heading into the 2023 NFL Draft. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah dipped into the 2023 stockpile last year for trades involving Akayleb Evans, T.J. Hockenson, and Jalen Reagor.

Vikings fans should expect the franchise to trade all over the place again on draft night, so in that vein, mock drafts are a bit futile. There’s absolutely no way the current slate of picks goes unchanged.

Dustin Baker’s Vikings Mock Draft 2.0 — 2023

Still, here’s the best stab at a predictive mock draft for the 2023 Vikings, the second mock of the lead-up process. You can read the first one here. One trade was made, a maneuver out of the 23rd overall pick.

Trade: The Vikings send the 23rd pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for the 28th, 60th, and 92nd picks.

R1: Will Levis (QB)

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Pick Number = 28th
College = Kentucky

The NFL Mock Draft Database simulator allowed for the Vikings-Bengals trade — and a tumble by Levis all the way to No. 28. In fact, the Bengals proposed the deal in the imagined simulator space.

Levis’ 2021 offensive coordinator at Kentucky was a coworker of Kevin O’Connell in the past, so there’s a pipeline for a relationship. Planning for life after Kirk Cousins — and not having to trade anything for it — the Vikings pounce on Levis to watch and learn for one year before handing the keys over.

R2: Trenton Simpson (LB)

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Pick Number = 60th
College = Clemson

Off-ball linebackers increasingly don’t fetch much sizzle in Round 1, so Simpson evidently falls to Round 2. He’s a dynamic athlete who could blend wonderfully with second-year linebacker Brian Asamoah in Minnesota.

Simpson may fly off the board in Round 1, but as fruit of the theorized trade with Cincinnati, Simpson’s a Viking for the next four years.

R3: D.J. Turner (CB)

Vikings Mock Draft 2
Michigan Wolverines defensive back D.J. Turner (5) holds the trophy during the Big Ten football championship on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Michigan Wolverines defeated the Purdue Boilermakers, 43-22. Ncaa Football Big Ten Championship Football Game. © Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Pick Number = 87th
College = Michigan

Let’s face it. Minnesota needs cornerbacks, as Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans are the only startable options on the current roster.

Turner may not be ready for Week 1, but he’s fast as hell and one of the better cover corners available in the draft. Because the Vikings haven’t signed Shaquill Griffin or Rock Ya-Sin in free agency, they simply need CB bodies. Turner has a decent trajectory to eventually start.

R3: Cedric Tillman (WR)

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) during Tennessee’s game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. © Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Pick Number = 92nd
College = Tennessee

Minnesota might draft a WR2 early in the draft, but with the Levis pick, they’ll have to improvise while allowing K.J. Osborn to prove his moxie as Justin Jefferson’s 2023 running mate.

Tillman is a large WR — 6’3″, 213 pounds — who can mature into a playmaker in Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

R4: Garrett Williams (CB)

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Pick Number = 119th
College = Syracuse

Often drafted in Rounds 2 and 3 in some mock drafts, Williams plummeted the board in NFL Mock Draft Database’s simulator.

With the same case for Turner above, the Vikings require CB depth, especially if no free agents join the club between now and the draft. Wiliams showcases the physicality and toughness defensive coordinators want from a defensive back, but he’s recovering from an ACL tear — probably why he fell down this particular mock draft board.

R5: Jaquelin Roy (DT)

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Pick Number = 158th
College = LSU

The Vikings adore LSU products, spanning back-to-back general management regimes. In March, Adofo-Mensah signed Dean Lowry for DT duty, and grabbing Roy in Round 5 does nothing to change Lowry’s starting gig in 2023.

He can develop, however, for a year or two and see what flushes out down the road. Roy is more athletic than most defensive tackles sought by the Vikings since Sharrif Floyd, and that isn’t a bad thing.

The Vikings have drafted Danielle Hunter, Justin Jefferson, and Ed Ingram from LSU in the last eight drafts. Let’s head back to the LSU fountain.

R7: Ronnie Hickman (S)

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Pick Number = 211th
College = Ohio State

The Vikings version of Mr. Irrelevant, Hickman joins the club as a fringe practice-squad type personality. Minnesota doesn’t really need safeties with Lewis Cine returning from injury, but Hickman’s run defense and versatility are enough for the Vikings to sign on his dotted line in Round 7.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.