8 Players the Vikings Should Draft | VT Writers

The New Kiper
Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) gestures to the crowd against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory writers were asked to provide one single draft preference apiece for the Minnesota Vikings. They were instructed to choose a trade-up, trade back, or remain at the No. 23 spot.

Each writer somehow came up with a different selection — a totally random outcome.

8 Players the Vikings Should Draft | VT Writers

The NFL draft occurs on April 27th in Kansas City, so 16 days away.

1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)

8 Players the Vikings
Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) walks onto the field prior to the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Smith-Njigba did not play due to injury. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch.

Ohio State
Prediction Maker = Adam New

I’m a big fan of Ohio State WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba. If the Vikings could somehow snag the Buckeye to partner Justin Jefferson, they could have the best group of offensive pass-catchers in the league, including TJ Hockenson, KJ Osborn, and Jalen Nailor as the speed merchant.

To make it happen, the Vikings may have to trade up, which feels unlikely, but in my fantasy scenario, Kevin O’Connell is just as enamored by Smith-Njigba as me.

The Vikings trade up to pick 14 with the New England Patriots to land Smith-Njigba, sending pick 23 and 2024 2nd-Rounder to New England.

2. Jordan Addison (WR)

Todd McShay Tabs
Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) runs the ball against the Utah Utes during the second half in the PAC-12 Football Championship at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Ali Siddiqui

The Vikings need another WR with Adam Thielen gone. KJ Osborn had a good year, but will he be a true WR? Maybe someday. Maybe not in 2023, though.

Yes, they can still use a CB but can take one later. Addison could make this offense that much better and could really help whoever Kirk Cousins’ replacement will be eventually.

3. Zay Flowers (WR)

Nov 12, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston College Eagles receiver Zay Flowers (4) gestures to fans after scoring during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Boston College
Prediction Maker = Cole Smith

With the Vikings first pick, I want Zay Flowers. They need another player to take pressure off of Justin Jefferson, and Flowers possesses the speed and short-area quickness to do so.

Quarterback is tempting and would send everyone into a frenzy, but with the lack of draft capital needed to move up (and with this year’s crop of QBs being somewhat questionable), they give the offense another weapon instead.

4. Bryan Bresee (DT)

4 Vikings Draft Theories
Dec 30, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Bryan Bresee (11) sacks Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joe Milton III (7) during the first half of the 2022 Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker =
Dustin Baker

Firmly convinced the Vikings will trade back, Bresee is the pick to finally give the Vikings an advantage on the interior of the defensive line. There was a temptation to plop Will Levis here and “hope he falls” to the Vikings so the franchise doesn’t have to spend trade capital for the “guy after Kirk.”

Joey Porter is probably the safest bet, and taking him over Bresee soothes a more pressing roster need. There’s also the allure of snagging Bijan Robinson, truly giving Minnesota a Top 5 offense with weaponry in Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Robinson — indefinitely.

But Bresee is the choice because the Vikings haven’t employed a fearsome pass-rushing DT since Sharrif Floyd, and he left the team too soon due to injury.

Porter, Robinson, or Levis (at No.23 — no trade-up) would be fine, but let’s roll with Bresee.

5. Joey Porter Jr. (CB)

6 Outside CB
Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (9) gestures to the crowd against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

Penn State
Prediction Maker = Kyle Joudry

Admittedly, I’m torn between several options. Left in charge of the purple personnel — thank God I’m not — I’d load up on pass rushers like my life depended on it.

Even still, I’ll overlook EDGE and instead toss in corner Joey Porter Jr. as a player I’d be thrilled to see at No. 23. A long and strong corner who can press? Sign me up.

6. Dorian Thompson-Robinson (QB)

Dec 30, 2022; El Paso, Texas, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) throws ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers defense in the first half in the 2022 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Janik Eckardt

The Vikings trade down into the second round of the draft to collect some more draft picks along the way and take a stab at the QB of the future.

Thompson-Robinson has some elite tools, especially his athleticism and playmaking ability are phenomenal, which leads to a high upside. He is the best option at the position when the Vikings expectedly miss out on the top QBs.

7. Brian Branch (S/CB)

Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Brian Branch (14) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Josh Frey

Stay put, pick Brian Branch.

I think Branch is an extremely talented player, and if he’s available with the 23rd overall pick, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should sprint the pick to the podium. He’s listed as a safety but played the majority of his snaps as a slot corner this past season.

He is one of the best tacklers in this class out of the secondary as well, and he will bring instant energy to Minnesota’s defense.

8. Hendon Hooker (QB)

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks for an open receiver during the NCAA college football game against Missouri on Saturday, November 12, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. © Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK..

Prediction Maker =
Ted Schwerzler

Let’s go Henson Hooker. The answer is truly Anthony Richardson, but the price is too steep.

Forget his age. Hooker has looked legit the last two years. Whether Cousins is moved or not, allow yourself to truly overhaul the roster in 2024.

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.