2022 Vikings Draft Class Draws Lousy Reviews

The Vikings moved on from head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman shortly after the conclusion of their second consecutive underwhelming season about 13 months ago. After missing the postseason in back-to-back campaigns for the first time since 2013 and 2014, the Vikings decided to make big moves in the 2022 off-season.

Their successors, head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, claimed collaboration in all of their decisions, a good change after years of alleged feuds in the building. The improved culture certainly helped the Vikings win 13 games. One thing the two couldn’t change is the continued draft struggles.

2022 Vikings Draft Class Draws Lousy Reviews

Adofo-Mensah was in the spotlight for the first time in his executive career when he made the final calls in the 2022 draft. The former Wall Street Trader started to confuse most fans by trading down in his own division twice, an unusual move, but it allowed the Vikings to increase the number of draft choices.

2022 Vikings Draft Class Draws Lousy Reviews
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah’s first draft class is drawing bad reviews from CBSSport’s Chris Trapasso, who ranked all 32 draft classes based on their 2022 performances, and fans of the purple team don’t have to scroll far. The Vikings rank dead last at position 32.

The Vikings had a large draft class, and injuries derailed the professional debuts for safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.. While Ed Ingram got significant action in his first season, he was a liability at guard for Minnesota’s offense. Asamoah came on strong late in the year, making plays in coverage and against the run but didn’t even log 125 snaps.

Chris Trapasso, CBSSports
Adam New’s Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings 
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Safety Lewis Cine joined the Vikings after winning the national championship in college with the Georgia Bulldogs. He showed elite speed and athleticism on tape and certainly deserved to be a first-round pick based on his talent. The start of his professional career was rocky. He first lost the starting job to Camryn Bynum and later didn’t start over Josh Metellus when Harrison Smith missed a game. In Week 4, Cine’s rookie campaign ended with a severe leg injury before it even began. He only appeared on two snaps on defense.

Andrew Booth, the cornerback from Clemson, was regarded by most as a first-round talent but fell down draft boards because of many injuries in his past, something that continued after arriving in Minnesota. Booth played on 105 defensive snaps at cornerback, a highly struggling position. Multiple injuries cost him time, starting with some muscle issues, followed by a season-ending meniscus surgery. Booth struggled when he was on the field, but that is expected for rookies.

Of course, the draft class looks bad when the top two draft selections basically don’t play football in their first season. Cine and Booth will have a chance to earn a more prominent role in their second season under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

PurplePTSD: Old Viking to Dolphins, Ed Ingram Momentum, MIN-LV Winners and Losers
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The third rookie of the group was Ed Ingram, who won the starting job in training camp. Folks expected the former LSU guard to fix a struggling offensive line. He played on all 1,168 snaps on offense. While his availability was a good thing, his performance wasn’t, especially since his pass protection was a disaster. A significant improvement in year 2 is possible and necessary.

Adofo-Mensah’s fourth draft pick is the only one getting praise from Trapasso. He played 119 snaps on defense. The two starting linebackers, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks, could be on their way out, so Asamoah should get a bigger role in 2023 after showing flashes in 2022.

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 13
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) after a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

The other selections were Akayleb Evans, Esezi Otomewo, Ty Chandler, Vederian Lowe, Jalen Nailor, and Nick Muse. Some of them showed some promise, especially Evans when he went up against receiver Terry McLaurin and Jalen Nailor, who was the bright spot in Week 17 against the Packers. All ten players are still on the roster, which is a good sign for the future.

The Vikings certainly hoped for more contributions from their 2022 draft class. However, the judgment of draft classes after one season is generally meaningless. Some players have bad injury luck. Others need some time to get used to the speed of the NFL. There are countless examples of NFL superstars whose contributions were modest in their rookie campaigns.

Adofo-Mensah will have a new chance when the draft kicks off on April 27. The Vikings are scheduled to select four players, with a potential fifth one after receiving a possible compensatory pick.

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