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Initial Minnesota Vikings 2023 mock draft roundup North News

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Minnesota’s season came to a premature end in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Thus 2022 is in the rear view and it’s time to look ahead to 2023 – which means, yes, a first glance at mock drafts.

The Vikings are slotted with the No. 24 overall pick – although in the first round it will actually be pick No. 23 as Miami had to forfeit its first-round selection. Minnesota also only currently has four draft slots in 2023 – in the first, third, fourth and fifth rounds – due to various trades.

Who the Vikings will pick will be the subject of a lot of conjecture over the next few months.

Of course, there’s plenty of roster machinations to come: roster cuts, free-agent signings and players headed elsewhere.

Still, the general feeling is Minnesota could use help on defense, particularly cornerback. At least that’s what most of the initial mocks think (don’t worry, there’s some offensive choices as well).

Here’s our first roundup of Vikings mock drafts:

Daniel Jeremiah of Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami.”Stevenson has some flaws, but he’s big (6-0, 214), fast and tough. He would be a significant addition to a porous Vikings secondary.”

Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State. “The Vikings need to give Cam Dantzler better help on the back end with Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan heading into free agency. They could use some of Porter’s size, speed and physicality to make more plays on the ball in coverage.”

Ryan Wilson of Brian Branch, CB, Alabama. “Branch isn’t the first name you hear about when the conversation turns to Alabama’s defense, but maybe he should be. He’s a sure tackler, can blitz off the edge, and is solid in coverage, and if Nick Saban trusts him, that’s all you need to know about his NFL prospects.”

Josh Edwards of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State. “Adam Thielen has had 65-plus receptions in six of the past seven seasons, but he will turn 33 years old prior to the start of next season. Head coach Kevin O’Connell was accustomed to having multiple options at wide receiver in Los Angeles so they add a reliable third outlet.”

Chris Trapasso of Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson. “Murphy has an NFL body and stars against the run. He can learn the intricacies of rushing the passer from Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter early in his NFL career.”

Dane Brugler of The Athletic ($): Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland. “Between now and the draft, I’m sure we will hear plenty of quarterback talk surrounding the Vikings. But they also need help on defense, obviously, including in the secondary. A cover-and-clobber corner, Deonte Banks has rangy speed and ball skills. Several NFL teams have second-round grades on the Maryland corner, but others believe he can crack the first round.”

Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune: Jordan Addison, WR, USC. “Adam Thielen will be 33 next season and the Vikings have a potential out in his contract after this season. Addison would pair nicely with Justin Jefferson. The 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner (with Pittsburgh) is a silky smooth route runner and has the speed to challenge a defense at every level with inside/outside versatility.”

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network: Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State. “Disappointing finish aside, the Vikings showed promise in Year 1 under Kevin O’Connell. But if they’re going to ride out the rest of the way with Kirk Cousins at QB, the interior offensive line has to be impenetrable. That means no settling at offensive guard. In Cody Mauch, they can get a mauler in the run game, with the strength to dominate in pass pro.”

Joe Broback of Pro Football Network: Bryan Breese, DT, Clemson. “A few things stood out in Minnesota’s loss to the New York Giants this weekend. One of them was the lack of pressure in key situations on Daniel Jones. Now, everyone knows the edge of the line is fine, but the interior needs an upgrade. If Bryan Bresee falls this far, someone will sprint to get him. It’s tough to see the Vikings pass on him, given their needs. Bresee is a 6’5″, 300-pound nightmare for offensive linemen. His power is evident, but where he catches people off guard is his ability to move so quickly at his size.”

Luke Easterling of Draft Wire: Devin Witherspoon, CB, Illinois. “Another receiver to pair with Justin Jefferson shouldn’t be out of the question, but this defense needs help in the worst way, particularly when it comes to stopping the pass. Witherspoon has been one of the most dominant cover men in the country this season.”

Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah.

Christian D’Andrea of For the Win: Brian Branch, S, Alabama. “Minnesota could opt for a cornerback here or beef up a veteran pass rush by being the first team to pull from the second tier of edge rushers. Instead, the Vikings get the draft’s top safety in Branch, a versatile defensive back who can handle multiple positions in the NFL. The Alabama product is a ballhawk (23 passes defensed in three seasons) capable of creeping up to the line of scrimmage to wreak havoc (14 tackles for loss in 2022). He’d bring immediate value to the league’s 26th-ranked passing defense. His positional flexibility would be a boon for a team likely to add secondary talent throughout the offseason. Additionally, Harrison Smith is about to turn 34 years old; drafting Branch gives the Vikings a viable succession plan.”

Drafttek (7 rounds): Round 1 – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon; Round 3 – Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan; Round 4 – Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA; Round 5 – DeMarvion Overshown, OLB, Texas.

Pete Fiutak of Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina.

Kevin Sanchez of Draft Network: Jordan Addison, WR, USC. “We all know that Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but in order for this Vikings offense to operate at their best, they need someone else who is a threat to take over a game. Jordan Addison is exactly that type of player. Addison has positional versatility with the ability to line up in the slot and on the outside and would be a nightmare to gameplan for with Jefferson. Addison falling to the Vikings in this NFL mock draft is the perfect match.”

Robbie Esch of The Huddle Report: Clark Phillips, CB, Utah.

Bryan Fischer of Athlon Sports: Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M. “The franchise has spent the last several years looking for a solution at corner and Johnson’s size and length could help him be a perfect addition to a secondary that needs plenty of help.” (3 rounds): Round 1 – Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina; Round 3 – Max Duggan, QB, TCU.

Charlie Campbell of (3 rounds): Round 1 — Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama; Round 3 – Jaren Hall, QB, BYU.

The 33rd team scouting department: Brian Branch, CB/S, Alabama. “The Vikings went secondary heavy in the draft last year, but it didn’t pay off for the 31st-ranked passing defense. Branch is a smart and versatile defense back who they will find a way to get on the field.”

Joe DiTulio of GameHaus: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois.

Matthew Jones of Fantasy Pros: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah. “While there are more physically gifted cornerbacks available at this point, someone with Clark Phillips III’s polish and versatility would perhaps be a good fit for a playoff team trying to win right now.”

Kent Weyrauch of Fantasy Pros: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia. “The Vikings let Daniel Jones destroy them on the Wildcard Weekend and need to find better ways to defend the pass. While he might be a bit divisive after a tough showing in coverage during their playoff battle with Ohio State, he rebounded nicely in the utter destruction of TCU in the championship. Nearing the end of the first, the Vikings can take a risk on Ringo’s traits and size in hopes that he improves his consistency.”

Cam Marino of Stacking the Board: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois.

Brian Branch, CB, Alabama — 3

Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah — 3

Devin Witherspoon, CB, Illinois — 3

Jordan Addison, WR, USC — 2

Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina — 2

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Bryan Breese, DT, Clemson

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M

Cody Mauch, OL, North Dakota State

Myles Murphy, DL, Clemson

Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Miami

Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama

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