Draft Should Control Vikings’ Remaining Spending

Offseason Is Different
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Minnesota Vikings, as did many teams, came out like gangbusters in free agency and picked up a whole new boatload of players. Needing to replace starters like Kirk Cousins, Alexander Mattison, and Danielle Hunter, there was plenty of playing time to go around. It stands to reason that there are still some holes to fill, and waiting through the draft now appears to be the plan of action.

Draft Should Control Vikings’ Remaining Spending

Of course, Kevin O’Connell is looking for another addition at the quarterback position. While it is possible that Sam Darnold works out, drafting a rookie signal caller who provides certainty for the future is a straightforward suggestion. Beyond just the quarterback position, though, Minnesota has a few places where things still look a bit fishy.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

Finding someone to bolster the interior defensive line at a starting caliber seems necessary. That has been an issue in Minnesota for a couple of seasons now, and sorting out that reality sooner than later makes a good deal of sense. There is also the cornerback position, and while there have been additions, Xavien Howard and his fit with Brian Flores seem like a perfect match. Lastly, we still don’t know if the offense is really going to roll with Blake Brandel at the guard position, but disrupting line continuity with a player out of position feels like an odd decision.

Of course, with rookies on their way through draft picks, the Vikings appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach with the rest of free agency. What talent they get to fill some of those holes through the draft will ultimately determine how they spend money going into training camp. The curious question here, however, is what the Vikings believe they will get in immediate value from their non-first-round picks.

How Does New
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As things stand today, Minnesota owns the 11th and 23rd overall selections in the first round. Using both of those to get plug-and-play starters is a very straightforward answer. That would then preclude them from adding the top-tier franchise quarterback of their choosing. That doesn’t seem like the route they are currently leaning into, and that means the rest of the class would be acquired through depth choices in the later rounds.

Without any other additions, the purple team has no second or third-round selection during the 2024 NFL Draft. Asking a fourth-rounder or later to step in and be the difference maker at guard, defensive tackle, or corner out of the gate is a pretty tall task. Certainly that can happen, just ask undrafted Ivan Pace Jr., but making that Plan A seems less than ideal.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports.

The prices of current free agents could drop as teams fill out their roster with recently acquired draftees, and the market may never materialize as expected for some of these guys. At the end of the day, Minnesota appears to have some holes that won’t be filled through the draft, and what they do to address them may be the difference in winning an extra game or two.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.