Vikings Get New Toy on Defense in Round 3

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The Minnesota Vikings stayed at their No. 23 spot Thursday night, drafting USC wide receiver Jordan Addison and enriching the WR stable next to Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, and Jalen Nailor.

On Friday, they trade back from the No. 87 spot, stockpiling three picks for the remainder of the draft and selecting cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, also from USC.

Vikings Get New Toy on Defense in Round 3

A couple of prominent draftboards, including The Draft Network, listed Blackmon as a 3rd-Round value, but most forecasted Blackmon as a 6th-Rounder, making the selection a bit head-scratching.

Toy on Defense
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Georgia CB Kelee Ringo has experienced a massive plunge down the draftboard, and Vikings fans expected him to be the team’s pick. But no cigar. Ringo will watch for his name to be called Saturday in Round 4.

Blackmon did have a 90.6 Pro Football Focus grade in 2022, the second-best in college football. The pick isn’t absolutely bizarre in that vein. Still, Adofo-Mensah likely could’ve traded back a second time on Night No. 2 and landed Blackmon Saturday.

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The addition of Blackmon adds instant depth to Minnesota’s CB room and leaves the group looking like this heading into Day 3 of the draft:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Andrew Booth
  • CB3: Akayleb Evans
  • CB4: Tay Gowan
  • CB5: Kalon Barnes
  • CB6: Joejuan Williams
  • CB7: Mekhi Blackmon

Blackmon played 14 games at USC in 2022 and four seasons at Colorado before that. He tabulated 3 interceptions as a Trojan last year, with 66 total tackles. At 6’0″ and 170 pounds, Blackmon is not large, and that’s probably the primary reason for his mid-to-late-round draft stock.

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Pro Football Network‘s Tony Pauline described Blackmon’s scouting report: “Feisty corner with average size and speed. Fluid pedaling in reverse, quick flipping his hips, and battles opponents throughout the route. Works to get his head back around to track the ball in the air, displays a nice move to the throw, and gets vertical to knock away passes. Displays good hands for the interception. Shows good route recognition facing the action and works well with safeties. Willing run defender who fights to get off blocks.”

Blackmon turned 24 in March.

The Vikings have the 119th (R4), 158th (R5), 164th (R5), 211th (R6), and 222nd (R7) picks on Saturday. The team is expected to target linebacker, defensive line, quarterback, and interior offensive line with the final picks, but don’t be surprised by more trades.

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).

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