Vikings ‘Draft Grades’ Are a Ride

Need in 2024
Image Courtesy of Cody Lauer | The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri. The Vikings drafted six players during the event, from WR Jordan Addison to RB DeWayne McBride

Twenty-one new players joined the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, six from the 2023 NFL Draft and 15 from a ginormous undrafted free-agent class.

These men arrived in the draft:

  • R1: Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
  • R3: Mekhi Blackmon (CB, USC)
  • R4: Jay Ward (S, LSU)
  • R5: Jaquelin Roy (DT, LSU)
  • R5: Jaren Hall (QB, BYU)
  • R7: DeWayne McBride (RB, UAB)

Vikings ‘Draft Grades’ Are a Ride

Here is general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s UDFA haul:

  • Alan Ali (OL, TCU)
  • Calvin Avery (DT, Illinois)
  • Abraham Beauplan (ILB, Marshall)
  • Andre Carter II (EDGE, Army)
  • Jacky Chen (OL, Pace)
  • C.J. Coldon (CB, Oklahoma)
  • Wilson Huber (ILB, Cincinnati)
  • Cephus Johnson (WR, SE Louisiana)
  • Malik Knowles (WR, Kansas State)
  • Ivan Pace, Jr. (ILB, Cincinnati)
  • Jack Podlesny (K, Georgia)
  • Ben Sims (TE, Baylor)
  • Thayer Thomas (WR, N.C. State)
  • NaJee Thompson (CB, Georgia Southern)
  • Jaylin Williams (CB, Indiana)

And while draft grades a day after the event are a wee bit silly, we’ll document them here from various sources to take the temperature of the NFL community. = A-

draft grades
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Grade Giver: Chad Reuter

The Explanation: “Addison will complement star receiver Justin Jefferson so well from the slot that it seemed the marriage was fate. Tight end T.J. Hockenson cost the team its second-rounder, which may prove wise if the Vikings are able to extend or re-sign him next offseason. Blackmon’s competitiveness and sticky coverage met a crucial need.”

Sporting News = B+

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Grade Giver: Vinnie Iyer

The Explanation: “The Vikings started off with a bang taking Addison to pair with Justin Jefferson. They lost their way with shaky consecutive selections for corner, but quickly rebounded with a steal of Roy. Hall and McBride may not be the late-round answers, but their developmental plan put the Vikings on track to think more about life with Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, likely in 2024.”


Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports.

Grade Giver: Mel Kiper

The Explanation: “This is a small class, but Addison fills a massive need. I’m just curious to see how much Blackmon can play as a rookie because Minnesota has available snaps for him.” = B

Team Pressure defensive lineman, Jaquelin Roy, committed to LSU, (99) is introduced at the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday January 2, 2020. Under37. © Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Grade Giver: Gilberto Manzano and Matt Verderame

The Explanation: “To start the draft, the Vikings passed on adding a future replacement for Kirk Cousins and found help for Justin Jefferson. Addison has the speed to be a downfield threat, but he can also help in the intermediate game because of his smooth route running. Addison has the skillset to punish teams that decide to double Jefferson. Blackmon is a competitive cornerback, and one who pushed Addison during USC practices.”

USA Today = B

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Grade Giver: Nate Davis

The Explanation: “Different kind of player, but first-round WR Jordan Addison should make hay as he steps into departed Adam Thielen’s role opposite Jefferson. And, remember, the Round 2 choice was used last year to get TE T.J. Hockenson. The Vikes’ most interesting picks might be fifth-round QB Jaren Hall and seventh-round RB DeWayne McBride given the uncertain futures of Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, respectively.”

Pro Football Focus = B-

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports.

Grade Giver: PFF Staff

The Explanation: Mentioning new QB Jaren Hall, “Hall performed very well in a cozy situation at BYU the past two years. He is an excellent athlete who is undersized with mediocre arm strength. He has the luxury of sitting behind Kirk Cousins, who wins with smarts and moxie. Hall will need to show the same traits against NFL pass rushes if he hopes to succeed long-term.”

The Ringer = C+

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Grade Giver: Danny Kelly

The Explanation: “The Vikings selection of USC receiver Jordan Addison was one of my favorite player-team fits of the first round. The former Biletnikoff Award winner is the perfect complement to Justin Jefferson, and gives Kirk Cousins another reliable separator in high-leverage situations […] Overall, a down-the-fairway draft for Minnesota after their excellent Addison pick.”

Cumulative Grade from Pundits = B

On the whole, most draft heads believe the Vikings began the draft like gangbusters and conducted a mundane bevy of picks thereafter. Adofo-Mensah’s selection of Addison remains the only one of his young career of which the pick wasn’t previously traded.

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