4 New Vikings Are Officially in the House

Rookie minicamp highlights from Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mekhi Blackmon's first practice as a Viking after being selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Blackmon is a cornermback from USC drafted by Minnesota in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah welcomed six new rookies from the 2023 NFL Draft, an event headlined by USC wide receiver Jordan Addison.

The franchise equitably drafted offensive and defensive players — three from each side of the ball.

4 New Vikings Are Officially in the House

And as of late last week, four new Vikings are officially in the house, signing their rookie deals with rookie minicamp underway.

4 New Vikings Are
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports.

These players are now under contract for the next four years on rookie deals:

  • Mekhi Blackmon (CB) (3rd Round)
  • Jay Ward (S-CB) (4th Round)
  • Jaquelin Roy (DT) (5th Round)
  • Jaren Hall (QB) (5th Round)

Two more will sign soon:

  • Jordan Addison (WR) (1st Round)
  • DeWayne McBride (RB) (7th Round)
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings rookie minicamp kicked off Friday, a 90-minute session for newcomers to acclimate a month before mandatory minicamp for all players. Although Addison hasn’t signed a rookie deal yet, head coach Kevin O’Connell highlighted his performance, “Jordan’s been meeting over Zoom a little bit since we drafted him, obviously within the confines of the rules.”

“You can tell he’s a little bit ahead of a lot of the guys out on the field today, where he’s lining up, understanding exactly what that play means for what routes he has and how to go adjust once the picture changes when that ball’s snapped. I thought Jordan had a really good day and just looks and feels the part, which is exactly what I expected out of him,” O’Connell mentioned.

Of the four who signed before camp, Blackmon has the best chance to receive regular season playing time out of the gate in September. He’s 24 and could snag defensive snaps earlier than his non-1st-Round peers merely because the Vikings cornerback room is a mystery. Free-agent addition Byron Murphy is a lock to start, but the rest of the group is a work in progress.

Ward is versatile and, with a productive summer, could experience rookie playtime time, too. Roy, a defensive tackle, needs refinement but has a pro comp of Dalvin Tomlinson, who played Roy’s position with the Vikings in 2021 and 2022.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports.

At quarterback, Hall is the exciting question mark. Quarterbacks drafted from the 5th Round or later rarely pan out, but Minnesota and its fans hope Hall is the exception to the rule. O’Connell said about Hall, “I spent a lot of time with Jaren, and I’m a big fan of his — love the way he came out and commanded a group of guys that are learning a bunch of information for the first time. There were some ups, there were some downs, and that’s what we expect and ultimately just trying to give him tangible real things.”

The Vikings regular season schedule also dropped last week, and the team will open the 2023 season hosting the Tom Brady-less Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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.