The Vikings 3 Primary Draft Needs

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The 2023 NFL Draft is about two weeks away, and the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to pick 23rd. The last time they held that spot, Christian Darrisaw joined the club in 2021.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has five draft picks as of April 12th, one of the lower draft-capital baskets in the NFL. The young executive traded more than anyone during the 2022 NFL Draft, so folks expect Adofo-Mensah to perhaps replicate the strategy.

The Vikings 3 Primary Draft Needs

And while adding to the draft-pick total or staying put at five, he has three primary — and nearly indisputable — draft needs for long-term roster planning. These are those, ranked in order of urgency (No. 1 = most significant need).

3. Off-Ball Linebacker

Vikings 8 New
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Who the Vikings Currently Have:

  • LB1: Brian Asamoah
  • LB2: Jordan Hicks
  • LB3: Troy Reeder
  • LB4: Troy Dye
  • LB5: William Kwenkeu

Vikings fans may be happy and excited about the group, chiefly because the name Brian Asamoah is in it. Last year’s rookie from Oklahoma “looked the part” in limited sample size, forcing turnovers and flying all over the field.

But what if Asamoah isn’t actually any good, at least in a starting capacity?

Then, total panic or doldrums would ensue. Jordan Hicks would be asked to do everything, especially if Asamoah fell injured or vice versa with Hicks.

Eric Kendricks departed for the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Vikings need off-ball linebacker depth. There is no other way to dice it.

Who They Could Draft: Jack Campbell (Iowa), Drew Sanders (Arkansas), Trenton Simpson (Clemson)

2. Wide Receiver

Vikings 3 Primary
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Who the Vikings Currently Have:

  • WR1: Justin Jefferson
  • WR2: K.J. Osborn
  • WR3: Jalen Nailor
  • WR4: Jalen Reagor
  • WR5: Brandon Powell
  • WR6: Blake Proehl
  • WR7: Trishton Jackson

Minnesota might be enamored with K.J. Osborn at WR2, and that’s great, but what if he doesn’t pan out as a productive WR2? The team would have to target TE T.J. Hockenson even more and hope 6th-Round rookie from last year, Jalen Nailor, blossoms out of nowhere.

Like Kendricks above, Adam Thielen left for another team, the Panthers, and isn’t returning anytime soon. Now is the time to draft and develop the next Thielen (if that moniker is even possible to fulfill).

Who They Could Draft: Jordan Addison (USC), Zay Flowers (Boston College), Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

1. Cornerback

Murphy the Next
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Who the Vikings Currently Have:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Andrew Booth
  • CB3: Akayleb Evans
  • CB4: Tay Gowan
  • CB5: Kalon Barnes

Unless the Vikings have imminent plans to sign Rock Ya-Sin or Shaquill Griffin via free agency, the club could draft multiple corners in two weeks. It almost has to consider it.

The above-listed fivesome would be cannibalized if the regular season started tomorrow, minus the sudden progression of Booth and Evans into really good defenders. The Vikings kicked five CBs out in the last month — Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd — while welcoming just one newcomer (Murphy).

Write it at the top of your notepad and circle it — the Vikings need CBs.

Who They Could Draft: Deonte Banks (Maryland), Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State), Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), Kelee Ringo (Georgia), Cam Smith (South Carolina), Tyrique Stevenson (Miami)

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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