Adam New’s Vikings Mock Draft | A Prediction

Michigan defensive lineman Mazi Smith talks with reporters about the Fiesta Bowl against TCU on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Scottsdale, Arizona. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

We are finally there. After three long months of speculation, it’s draft week.

Of course, there’s time for a little more speculation and a Vikings mock draft. Often you will have some idea of what a team will do in a draft, especially position-wise in the first round. That’s not the case this year, and the only positions I think you can safely rule out are offensive tackle and tight end.

I used the mock draft simulator over at Pro Football Focus and made two trades, but I still only made five selections, all coming in the first five rounds.

Adam New’s Vikings Mock Draft | A Prediction

Trade: Minnesota traded the 23rd pick and the 119th pick to New Orleans for the 29th pick and the 71st pick.

Pick 29 – Mazi Smith, IDL, Michigan

Adam New
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Mazi Smith (58) celebrates a play against the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I pass on several options at 23, including Deonte Banks, Brian Branch, Quentin Johnston, Bryan Bresee, and Calijah Kancey. The reason? The Vikings need a dominant nose tackle. Not just a good one, but the type of player to build the rest of the defense around, knowing he’s going to be unmoveable in the middle.

Khyiris Tonga showed enough potential last season to be re-signed as a good depth player, but Mazi Smith is the guy to take the Vikings defense to a different level. A better pass-rusher on the interior like Bresee and Kancey is an option, but I believe Brian Flores can scheme pressure up the middle. Smith gives you the solid foundations of the defense and the bonus of the extra draft pick via the trade.

Pick 71 – Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss

Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (1) against Tulane Green Wave at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports.

There were three positions I looked at for the two third-round picks, CB, LB, and WR. I decided to go WR at 71, and there were a few good options, including Marvin Mims, Rashee Rice, and Kayshon Boutte. I decided to go with the big, physical Jonathan Mingo, who gives the Vikings a different type of receiver. He is perfect for quick screens and jet sweeps, something the Vikings tried without any great success last season.

Pick 87 – Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

Purdue Boilermakers cornerback Cory Trice (23), Purdue Boilermakers safety Chris Jefferson (17) and Purdue Boilermakers safety Sanoussi Kane (21) celebrate after Purdue Boilermakers safety Chris Jefferson (17) returned an interception for a touchdown during the NCAA football game, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. © Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings could look to trade back again here, as there were several good options at CB and LB, and Minnesota could do with both. No trade is made is forthcoming in my mock draft. I opt to bolster the secondary with Corey Trice, a big corner (6’3, 206 lbs) that adds depth to the secondary as a man coverage cornerback suited to take on the bigger, more physical wide receivers who could also play at safety.

Pick 158 – Olusegun Oluwatimi, IOL, Michigan

Nov 5, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh slaps hands with Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Olusegun Oluwatimi (55) after a Wolverines touchdown during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

I have had the fifth round as an IOL pick in my mind all off-season. It might not be the biggest priority (though debatable), but it certainly needs attention – this seems the suitable range to do it. I’ve like Anthony Bradford at this pick, but his draft stock is rising, and he might be long gone by this point. So after taking the man in the middle of the Michigan Wolverines defensive line, we do the same with the offensive line. Olusegum Olawatimi is a four-year starter ready to come in as a starting center.

With Garrett Bradbury back, there isn’t an immediate need, but if Olawatimi can usurp Bradbury as the starter by next season, the Vikings can save millions of dollars.

TradeMinnesota trades the 211th pick and a 2024 5th to Dallas for the 169th pick and a 2024 7th

Pick 169 – Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA

Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) before playing against the Southern California Trojans at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Life after Kirk Cousins needs to be addressed. That starts here with a move up into the fifth to take a flier on Dorian Thomson-Robinson. I like the UCLA quarterback’s potential. He has the arm strength, athleticism, and character that is an excellent base to build from. He is a great option for the Vikings to take a look at before the need for drafting a QB in the first round next year becomes a necessity.