The Top 5 Vikings Draft Needs Following Free Agency

Vikings as One of 12 Teams
Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings were one of the more active teams throughout free agency, but now that we’ve gotten a chance to glimpse at this roster as a whole with the frenzy slowing down, here are the top 5 Vikings draft needs following free agency.

Wide Receiver

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) races to the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl Game Ohio State Buckeyes Against Utah Utes

The Vikings have a bonafide superstar in Justin Jefferson, but behind him, the production from Minnesota’s wide receiver room quickly drops off after K.J. Osborn. In order to take some pressure off Jefferson, it makes sense for the Vikings to try and find a third receiver in the draft.

Currently, the most likely spot to find a true contributor is with their 23rd overall pick in the first round. There are a number of different options that could be available such as the shifty route-runner out of Ohio State, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the big-bodied playmaker out of TCU, Quentin Johnston, or the burner out of Tennessee, Jalin Hyatt.


Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) gestures after recovering a fumble by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not shown) during their game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s linebacker crew could be the most volatile position on the roster right now. Perhaps Brian Flores can get some of major production out of guys like Brian Asamoah or Jordan Hicks in a blitz-heavy scheme, but there is also the chance that the group misses Eric Kendricks’ leadership and production.

Regardless, even if the Vikings linebackers do well in 2023, the reality is that Minnesota needs a plan in place for the future as well. Perhaps this could lead to Minnesota taking a swing at a linebacker in the third round.

Interior Defensive Line

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the linebacker position, the Vikings defensive line seems largely set for the 2023 season, unless they opt to draft someone like Bryan Bresee or Calijah Kancey in the first round.

Minnesota snatched Dean Lowry from the Green Bay Packers in free agency, and he will hopefully replace at least some of the production lost with the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson. However, this is another group largely filled with veterans who won’t be solutions for years to come. The Vikings should start planning for the future by drafting another interior lineman.


Questions Answered: 2 Vikings Ruled Out vs. DAL, Home Underdog Madness, Darrisaw
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

It would certainly be preferable for the Vikings to find another veteran cornerback in free agency, but if they are unable to do that, they cannot ride into the 2023 season with just five players at the position and four that have extremely limited playing experience.

If Minnesota were to trade down from No. 23 in the first round, they could land a decent CB in the early second round, but they also had luck finding Akayleb Evans in the fourth round of the 2022 Draft. Perhaps Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has his eye on another Day 3 player this spring.


The Vikings Must Improve This Position in 2023
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) snaps the football along side of guard Ezra Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have uncertainty at the guard position because of Ezra Cleveland’s lack of a contract extension. In order for Minnesota to formulate a long-term plan, as well as depth for 2023, guard should be in play for the Vikings in this draft.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.