The Vikings 2023 Draft Will Be Frugal and Abnormal

General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in August of 2022 at Minnesota Vikings headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota.

The Vikings 2023 draft will be frugal and abnormal, so if you’re expecting the franchise to use the event as a cure-all, it will take a work of magic by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

The team can still set course on a reasonable path for playoff contention in 2023 — it finished 13-4 in 2022 and won the NFC North for the first time in five years — but April’s draft is a different animal than years past under Rick Spielman.

The Vikings 2023 Draft Will Be Frugal and Abnormal

Adofo-Mensah has just four draft picks in 2023, the second-fewest in the NFL as of January 15th behind the San Francisco 49ers, who have three selections. These are Minnesota’s draft choices as the offseason began prematurely after the Vikings unexpectedly lost to the New York Giants in the Wildcard Round of the postseason:

  • Round 1
  • Round 3
  • Round 4 (From Detroit)
  • Round 5

And that’s it.

The Vikings 2023 Draft Will
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings hired Adofo-Mensah one year ago, and the man promptly started executing trades like a kid with baseball cards. That certainly isn’t a bad thing, as the next few seasons will illuminate the potential success of the transactions. But because Adofo-Mensah got started in a hurry with his bartering ways, the Vikings have a skimpy cabinet of draft picks at the moment.

Before the 2022 NFL trade deadline, Adofo-Mensah traded his 2nd-Rounder from this April for T.J. Hockenson and received a 4th-Rounder in return. The young executive could probably trade his 1st-Round pick this season to regain a 2nd-Rounder while staying in the 1st Round, but for now, Minnesota has no 2nd-Round choice. The Vikings 2022 2nd-Rounder is Hockenson, who performed tremendously after joining the club in November.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Last April, Minnesota’s 2023 4th-Round pick flew out the window on Day No. 3 of the draft as Adofo-Mensah fell in love with the addition of cornerback Akayleb Evans from Missouri. He traded that pick to the Cleveland Browns, who will use the Vikings 4th-Round draft capital in a few months. Evans played encouragingly midseason before a handful of injuries derailed his rookie campaign.

Where’s the 6th-Rounder? In the Houston Texans satchel of picks, a franchise with oodles of draft choices. Adofo-Mensah acquired defensive tackle Ross Blacklock late last summer, a defender who didn’t make much of an impact in 2022.

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Finally, Adofo-Mensah sent a conditional 5th-Rounder from 2024 to the Philadelphia Eagles, plus this year’s 7th-Rounder for wideout Jalen Reagor. April’s 7th-Round slate is currently blank for that reason.

So, a simple way to think of it? Hockenson, Evans, Blacklock, and Reagor are this year’s draft picks.

The Vikings are expected to receive one or two compensatory picks in the 6th Round, meaning the cupboard will likely expand. But those are low-round picks. And not for nothing, Adofo-Mensah has already verifiably proved that he adores trading picks and players. Expect that haul of four picks to change enormously before or during the NFL Draft.

For now, though, it’s a skinny draft-pick menu. The NFL Draft occurs on April 27th in Kansas City.

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).