The Other Side of the Story on the Vikings’ 2022 Draft Class

Draft Analyst
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

For some reason, a loud faction of Minnesota Vikings fans have been anxious — giddy, even — to decry the club’s 2022 draft class.

The process began last summer when safety Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth failed to win starter jobs for the 2023 season. That was the smoking gun for many to declare the whole group a bust.

The Other Side of the Story on the Vikings’ 2022 Draft Class

But it never really made sense. Draft picks take time to develop. Now, as the 2023 season has unfolded, the 2022 class isn’t all that bad compared to other teams’ draft hauls.

Here’s why.

The Starters

Side of the Story
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

These men start for the 2023 Vikings, at least as of Week 16:

  • Ed Ingram (RG)
  • Akayleb Evans (CB)
  • Ty Chandler (RB)

Ingram has transformed into a trustworthy offensive guard, and when the flippant dialogue about the 2022 class arose a few months ago, Ingram was still a source of frustration for fans. But he’s developed quite well in his second year, rendering previous opinions way too premature.

Evans is the Vikings’ starting cornerback next to Byron Murphy. His 65.3 Pro Football Focus grade this season is a building block for Year Three.

And perhaps the legitimacy of the 2022 class hinges on Chandler. Should he become a productive RB1 in 2024 and beyond, maybe the sentiment on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first crack at the draft will soften.

The To Be Determined Crew

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The career verdicts are still out on these men:

  • Lewis Cine (S)
  • Andrew Booth (CB)
  • Brian Asamoah (LB)
  • Jalen Nailor (WR)
  • Nick Muse (TE)

The Vikings apparently have “too many” adept safeties, rendering Cine unnecessary in 2023. A reasonable cut-off to attach a bust label on Cine’s resume is Week 1 of 2024. It is unclear if the Vikings will have Harrison Smith, Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum, and Theo Jackson — all safeties — on the roster next season.

Cine’s teammate, Booth, should receive more playing time this weekend versus the Detroit Lions, as cornerback Byron Murphy won’t play.

Ivan Pace took Asamoah’s job this season, and no one is too upset about it. Nailor’s career has been derailed to date by injuries. We shall see if he becomes a WR3 and WR4 in 2024.

Finally, Muse is on the Vikings’ active roster and has performed well in the preseason. Yet, with T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, and Johnny Mundt on the depth chart, Muse isn’t needed in the offense.

The Departed

Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports.

These 2022 draftees no longer play for Minnesota:

  • Esezi Otomewo (DL)
  • Vederian Lowe (OT)

Otomewo, a former Golden Gopher, didn’t make the 53-man roster or practice squad in 2023, scooped by the Jacksonville Jaguars after roster trimdowns in August. He’s on the Jaguars practice squad.

Lowe was traded to the New England Patriots in September, fetching a 6th-Round draft pick for the Vikings’ 2024 piggypank.

The Comparisons

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

To date, the Vikings’ 2022 rookies have appeared in 171 games collectively. Here’s how that ranks among NFC teams:

  • Packers = 224
  • Giants = 219
  • Bears = 218
  • Cowboys = 207
  • Buccaneers = 205
  • Lions = 177
  • Seahawks = 177
  • Vikings = 171
  • Falcons = 163
  • Commanders = 160
  • Cardinals = 145
  • Rams = 138
  • 49ers = 134
  • Eagles = 120
  • Panthers = 93
  • Saints = 89

The [erroneous] narrative has suggested the Vikings 2022 draft crop was flatly horrendous. And that is simply false.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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

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