The Minnesota Vikings closed out the 2022 campaign with a 13-win season and their first division title since 2017. The organization wants to build off its success from last season by addressing critical needs on both sides of the football. When free agency kicked off for 2023, Minnesota parted ways with veterans such as Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Patrick Peterson, Cam Dantzler, and Dalvin Tomlinson.
They’ve added personnel that can contribute immediately, such as Byron Murphy Jr. and Marcus Davenport, but the team is seeking to develop talent that will allow them to compete beyond 2023. Our 4-round mock draft addresses team needs such as defensive line, wide receiver, and cornerback.
Mock Trade Breakdown
For this mock draft, we utilized the Pro Football Network’s simulator and a trade proposal made by the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona’s proposal was fair, allowing the Vikings to select a player that would address a significant void along the defensive line. The Cardinals received an extra pick in the first round, while Minnesota moved out of the first round and has Arizona’s second pick at 34. The Vikings received the Cardinals’ third-round pick and next year’s second. Here’s how things went after the Vikings moved out of the first round on this year’s draft.
Pick 34: 2nd Round: Mazi Smith, DT/Michigan
After losing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency, Minnesota was left with a significant hole in their defense. The selection of Michigan’s Mazi Smith present’s an opportunity for the team to be established in the position for years to come. Listed at 6’3, 323 lbs, Smith can move well, sift through traffic, and make plays. It also helps that Brian Flores will be his defensive coordinator.
Pick 66: 3rd Round: Trey Palmer, WR/Nebraska
The decision to draft a wide receiver in the third round is because the team needs to add another young playmaker on the outside that can complement Pro Bowl WR, Justin Jefferson. They decided to release veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen and have not signed anyone to replace his production in free agency. The notion is that they will address the vacancy in this year’s draft. With the 66th pick in the 3rd round, the Vikings added Nebraska wide receiver, Trey Palmer. Palmer has short-area elusiveness that restricts a defender’s ability to make contact. He is a versatile receiver as well. While at Nebraska, Palmer was used on jet sweeps, bubble/WR screens, and as a punt/kick returner.
Pick 119: 4th Round: Darius Rush, CB/South Carolina
Going into the 2023 season, the Vikings have new addition Byron Murphy Jr., Andrew Booth Jr., and Akayleb Evans as the cornerback. However, the team is adamant about adding additional depth to the group. Minnesota selects cornerback Darius Rush out of South Carolina in the fourth round. Before switching to playing cornerback, Rush was a wide receiver during his playing days in high school. His explosiveness as a playmaker has always been there. Since 2021, Rush has recorded three interceptions and 15 deflections.
Pick 158: 5th Round: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB/UCLA
The Vikings remain committed to Kirk Cousins for the foreseeable future, but anything beyond 2023 is unknown. After the 2023 season, Cousins will become an unrestricted free agent. Suppose Minnesota wants to go in a different direction. In that case, they can position themselves to draft a quarterback in the 2024 draft or make a move to sign Lamar Jackson if contract negotiations are not settled between him and the Ravens’ front office.
Another intriguing option is that they try to find Cousins’ potential successor in this year’s draft. A name that comes to mind in the later rounds is UCLA quarterback Dorian-Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson is a dual-threat quarterback that has an above-average arm. The UCLA standout can generate incredible velocity with his release. Under the guidance of head coach Kevin O’Connell, DTR could be up to speed on how to facilitate a pro-style offense.
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