New Vikings Draft Grade from Last Time Is Insulting

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Rookie minicamp highlights from Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison's first practice as a Viking after being selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Addison played at the University of Pittsburgh and USC in college.

One might think drafting Jordan Addison, Mekhi Blackmon, Jay Ward, and Jaquelin Roy while onboarding Ivan Pace Jr. and Andre Carter II from undrafted free agency last year would be considered a quasi-impressive haul for an offseason’s rookie class.

New Vikings Draft Grade from Last Time Is Insulting

Nope.

Not according to NFL.com, an outfit that assigned draft grades to NFC North teams this month, with a one year sample in the books. Eric Edholm evaluated each NFC North club’s draft haul from last April, and for the Vikings, the grade was an unflattering C.

Draft Grade from Last
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The Vikings’ rivals, of course, were painted in a better light, with the Detroit Lions given an A-, the Green Bay Packers a B+, and the Chicago Bears a B.

Edholm explained, “The Vikings received big contributions from their first-round selection and an undrafted player. The problem was, they did not find enough in between. A lack of picks hindered Minnesota’s drafting efforts in 2023, as they had to wait nearly 80 selections between taking Addison in Round 1 and Blackmon in Round 3.”

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The Vikings “had to wait” those 80 selections between Addison and Blackmon because the club traded for T.J. Hockenson in November 2022, and a 2nd-Rounder was one of the central pieces in the deal.

“Addison was expected to be a Year 1 standout, and then he hauled in 911 receiving yards and 10 TDs. Those were phenomenal final numbers, considering Kirk Cousins missed more than half the season (while his replacements at quarterback were a weekly adventure) and Justin Jefferson was out for seven games. OK, so Addison was a bit hot and cold over the year, but can you blame him? He was mostly terrific,” Edholm mentioned about Addison.

2 Vikings Snatch
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Addison developed rapport with Cousins and, to a degree, Nick Mullens, but Joshua Dobbs and rookie Jaren Hall did him no favors. We shall see how Addison performs as a sophomore. The Vikings will have a 2024 QB1 verdict in the next two months and perhaps sooner if they re-up with Cousins in the next three weeks.

Edholm concluded about the Vikings draft class and Ivan Pace Jr., “Pace might have been the league’s best undrafted rookie in 2023. He became the heartbeat of Flores’ defense in many ways, overcoming his smallish frame with elite football IQ, terrific quickness and playmaking ability. He took over for an injured Jordan Hicks, earned the green-dot helmet and, I suspect, won’t look back. It wasn’t a great class overall, but the Vikings appear to have found at least three players who can be notable contributors going forward.”

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

All NFL analysis is always “to each their own,” but a rookie class showcasing Addison, Pace Jr., and Blackmon — and fetching a C grade accordingly is a bit weird. It’s almost as if the Vikings were punished for acquiring the aforementioned Hockenson with draft capital.

The NFL Draft is 9.5 weeks away.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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