1 Rookie REALLY Wanted Vikings to Draft Him

Analyst Claims Vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

One guy during the 2023 NFL Draft was hoping and praying, and the maneuvers paid off.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted him, USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, in Round 3 of the event, a day after the club enhanced its offense with the selection of Blackmon’s teammate in college, Jordan Addison.

1 Rookie REALLY Wanted Vikings to Draft Him

Blackmon, a 24-year-old rookie, has a reasonable chance to gain a prominent defensive role this September as the Vikings CB room is evolving.

1 Rookie REALLY
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports.

The Trojan said about the draft and his union with the Vikings, “I was waiting all night. I thought it was going to come earlier, but you guys traded back. I kind of anticipated I was probably going to come to you guys — just praying and wishing I would.”

Blackmon is 5’11” and 175 pounds, eerily close to a mirror image physically of the aforementioned Addison.

“I took my visit out there, and I fell in love with the facilities and the coaching staff, so I was hoping I would land in Minnesota,” Blackmon concluded.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Blackmon isn’t the first NFLer — past, present, or future — to applaud the Vikings facilities and culture. The NFLPA released “team report cards” in March, right before free agency, and the Vikings led the NFL. Green Bay Packers offensive lineman David Bakhitiari even uplifted the Vikings high marks on Twitter, “Hey. Testament to them. I don’t think most people know how much all this data means to the players. Quality of life is priceless.”

Finding Blackmon in Round 3 might’ve felt like a long wait for him, but draft pundits disagreed. The consensus big board suggested the defender would’ve been available after the 3rd Round, but Minnesota stayed put and grabbed its man. He was considered a “reach” pick in the moment, but most Vikings fans have warmed up to the selection in the last few days. Blackmon did earn a 90.6 Pro Football Focus grade in 2022, the second-best in college football. The pick wasn’t absolutely bizarre in that vein. Still, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah likely could’ve traded back a second time on draft night No. 2 and still landed Blackmon.

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports.

Blackmon played 14 games at USC in 2022 and four seasons at Colorado before that. He tabulated 3 interceptions as a Trojan last year, with 66 total tackles. He is not a huge cornerback, and that’s probably the primary reason for his mid-to-late-round draft stock.

With rookies, including undrafted free agents, in bold, this is Minnesota’s current CB depth chart:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Andrew Booth
  • CB3: Akayleb Evans
  • CB4: Joejuan Williams
  • CB5: Mekhi Blackmon
  • CB6: Tay Gowan
  • CB7: Kalon Barnes
  • CB8: C.J. Coldon
  • CB9: NaJee Thompson
  • CB10: Jaylin Williams

Vikings mandatory minicamp begins June 13th.

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.