The 2022 regular season begins in 133 days, but first, the NFL Draft takes place, and that event is tonight in Las Vegas.
Out of nowhere this week, Travon Walker, an EDGE rusher from Georgia, is expected to be picked #1 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, at least according to oddsmakers.
Here’s what to know pertaining to the Minnesota Vikings and the draft.
No Clear Consensus for Vikings Pick
First, in January, the Vikings were on track to select Ahmad Gardner from Cincinnati. But now he’s too good to fall down the board. Similarly, Derek Stingley Jr., the LSU alumnus, was slated to be Minnesota’s number-one-with-a-bullet target as he has ties to Daronte Jones (the Vikings defensive backs coach and 2021 LSU defensive coordinator) and possible mentor, Patrick Peterson. But like Gardner, Stingley may be picked in the Top 11. Fears of his injury history were silenced at Stingley Jr.’s speedy Pro Day a few weeks ago.
Therefore, the Vikings body politic has pivoted to cornerbacks like Trent McDuffie from Washington and Andrew Booth Jr. from Clemson.
Yet, with new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in the saddle, unpredictability is palpable. He could select a wide receiver like Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) or Jameson Williams (Alabama), a defensive tackle in Jordan Davis (Georgia), or safety Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame).
Rick Spielman doesn’t work for the Vikings anymore, so this stuff is challenging to predict.
Overall, there is no true frontrunner for the Vikings on draft night.
Trading Down from the 12th Pick
Because of no consensus, Adofo-Mensah could trade down as Spielman did in years past, accruing draft capital later in Rounds 1 and 2. He could even stockpile the draft cabinet for next year. The Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Kansas City Chiefs are the likely dance partners. And if it’s the Chiefs, Minnesota could snag the 29th and 30th picks.
This idea should be one you’re warming up to you — it’s a vivid possibility. Every step of the way during his early Vikings adventure, Adofo-Mensah has preached value. One way to enhance value is to accumulate draft capital.
Get prepared for a trade down.
Trading Up Theories
But what if he doesn’t trade down?
Amid the last week, Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings from KFAN, has mentioned a couple of times the Vikings feasibility of trading up. This would be to land a player like Travon Walker or the aforementioned Gardner.
Adofo-Mensah would give up draft choices from this draft or next — an odd idea for the value guy — but if Allen gives the rumor some legs, it must not be foolish.
Trading down is still more plausible, but you’ve been warned about trading up to the eighth hole or so for Walker or Gardner.
A dirty little Vikings offseason season secret, Minnesota’s depth chart isn’t too deep. Imagine (in your mind right now) if Patrick Peterson was injured this summer. Then what?
What about Eric Kendricks? Tough feces?
Minnesota’s roster needs impact players to fill in if injuries hit.
In order, these are the Vikings roster needs, from most to least urgent:
- Interior Offensive Line
- Tight End
- Interior Defensive Line
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).