Ranking the 5 Most Exciting Vikings Draft Scenarios

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half against LSU at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 15, 2022. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

The NFL draft will be kicked off by the first round on Thursday, and the Vikings own the 23rd overall pick. Minnesota’s general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah must fill some roster holes and is under a little pressure because his first draft didn’t turn out well. Of course, the young players deserve a couple more seasons before anyone can make final evaluations.

Adofo-Mensah could target a wide receiver to replace the departed Adam Thielen, a new cornerback to start opposite Byron Murphy, pick a defensive lineman to improve a subpar line, or take a big swing at a new franchise quarterback. There are much more possibilities than usual.

Ranking the 5 Most Exciting Vikings Draft Scenarios

Some potential moves are much more exciting than others. Fans want to be entertained, and the NFL is just that, entertainment, so the excitement factor should play a role. The following list doesn’t include outlandish scenarios like edge rusher Will Anderson falling to the 23rd overall pick, but the team would have to trade up for a duo.

5. Calijah Kancey

Ranking the 5 Most Exciting Vikings Draft Scenarios
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The only defensive player on the list, Kancey is an exciting prospect. The defensive tackle out of Pittsburgh is almost a carbon copy of another former Pittsburgh lineman, Aaron Donald.

Both are undersized for the defensive line’s interior but unbelievably quick and incredible pass rushers. According to Pro Football Focus, Kancey led all interior defenders in the nation with at least 20 pass rush snaps in pass rush grade and pass rush win rate.

Kancey’s run defense is obviously not as good as a nose tackle with 50 more pounds, but he would be the best interior pass rusher of the purple team in decades. A defensive front with Danielle Hunter, Kancey, and one of Marcus Davenport and Za’Darius Smith is scary.

4. Jalin Hyatt

A new offensive weapon for the Vikings, Hyatt is a true speedster receiver. The Tennessee wideout ran a 4.4 40-yard dash but looks much faster on tape. He won the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver by simply running past defenders all year, and he has done that in the tough SEC.

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In 12 games in 2022, Hyatt recorded 67 catches for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hyatt running deep out of the slot is a scary sight for defenses because that often isolates him against slot cornerbacks or even safeties who can’t match his speed. His ability to use his speed to run deep, paired with his great skills to track the ball downfield and catch deep bombs, is absolutely electric.

Hyatt could open up the offense with his explosiveness, requiring safety help, help that isn’t available because Justin Jefferson also has to be double-teamed.

The receiver is almost guaranteed to be available when the Vikings pick at 23, possibly even in the second round.

3. C.J. Stroud

The Ohio State passer won’t be available for the Vikings with the 23rd pick. They must trade up to bring him to Minnesota. However, rumors are floating around that he could slide down the board a little, so the window to get him is somewhere in the range of picks 8-12.

A Draft Darling for Vikings Is Tumbling
Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) runs away from the pocket to throw a touchdown pass to Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18), not in photo, against Georgia Bulldogs during the first quarter of the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. © Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Stroud is a sure thing if that exists. He has prototypical size, possesses decent athleticism, even though his scrambling ability could and should be better, and is extremely accurate. As the most naturally gifted and smoothest passer in the class, Stroud has a high floor.

The prospect played phenomenally in his last-ever college game in the playoffs against Georgia, a team with an outstanding defense packed with NFL talent. He recorded 85 passing touchdowns and only 12 interceptions in his two seasons as the Buckeyes’ starting QB.

2. Bijan Robinson

Running backs don’t matter is a common claim on social media. In today’s NFL, running back is one of the most devalued positions in the game. However, they can be true game-changers. Players like Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, or Christian McCaffrey change offenses and can make teams scary by themselves.

Vikings GM Adores
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The Vikings could move on from Dalvin Cook in the next few days, rumors have existed for months, and they could immediately replace him by selecting Bijan Robinson. The running back out of Texas is often titled generational, a big word, but he deserves every bit of the hype.

He is big, runs powerfully, still possesses excellent agility and speed, and has great field vision. In addition, Robinson is a modern-day running back who can catch the football out of the backfield and even line up wide if needed.

The dynamic runner recorded phenomenal 41 scrimmage touchdowns in his three-year college career and managed to gain 4,215 yards, 3,410 of those on the ground. No other draft prospect is more likely to become a superstar in the NFL.

1. Anthony Richardson

Minneapolis Newspaper
Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) warms up before the game against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sunday, October 2, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun. USA TODAY NETWORK.

Richardson is the total opposite of Stroud. He isn’t as experienced and is still very raw. However, his physical tools are one-of-a-kind. He has absurd arm strength, and his measurements were close to elite athletes like Cowboys pass linebacker Micah Parsons and look nothing like typical quarterbacks.

However, he has some accuracy issues to get rid of before he’ll be an effective NFL QB, but Richardson will be an elite running quarterback as soon as he steps onto the NFL field. His best throws on tape can match up with every NFL quarterback’s best throws.

Richardson is a high-risk pick with some bust potential, but if he works out, he’ll be the most fun-to-watch QB in the league and a superstar player with an otherworldly ceiling.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt