Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Auctioning Off the Vikings’ 23rd Pick

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Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before a wild card game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The best guess is that the Vikings’ 23rd pick isn’t going to stay in Minnesota.

With a modest 5 overall selections heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is likely looking for more bites of the apple. He can increase his overall pick amount by trading down, something he did several times last year.

What’s a realistic return for Minnesota’s top pick?

To help answer this question, I turned to PFF and their handy mock draft simulator. The goal was to see what kind of return I could get. Below, you’ll find 3 mock drafts and the resulting player(s) selection (when falling within the opening couple of rounds).

Full disclosure: in a few instances, the draft got to the 23rd spot and there were no interested suitors, so I scrapped those mocks and started over. After all, the point is to get a sense of what a trade down could look like, both in terms of the pick haul and players who may still be available later on.

Auctioning Off the Vikings’ 23rd Pick

Draft #1
Trade Partner: Saints
Trade Haul: #29 & #71 in exchange for #23 & #211
Pick Results: CB Deonte Banks & Mystery Player

The opening draft featured some intriguing names left on the board, WR Quentin Johnston, CB Deonte Banks, and RB Bijan Robinson foremost among them. A couple dance partners showed up with offers: the Saints and Commanders. Given that a trade with Ron Rivera’s group would involve dropping down to 47th, I opted to see if we could pull off a deal with the Saints.

In the end, Minnesota hopped back to 29th, picking up the 71st selection in the process. To help balance things, Minnesota had to kick in the 211th selection.

Daniel Jeremiah Has CB on the Mind for the Vikings in Latest Mock Draft
Oct 22, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Deonte Banks (3) breaks up a pass against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With the 29th selection, the Vikings opted for help at corner by bringing Banks aboard. The move received an A+ evaluation from PFF and the trade itself landed a B grade. Overall, Vikings fans would likely be very pleased with a trade down that involves landing a highly-regarded corner and another 3rd-round selection, even if the 211th pick had to be kicked in.

Draft #2
Trade Partner: Raiders
Trade Haul: #38, #70, #109, & a 2024 5th in exchange for #23
Pick Results: LB Drew Sanders and Mystery Players

Draft #2 is when things got spicy.

CB Devon Witherspoon, iDL Calijah Kancey, iDL Bryan Bresee, WR Zay Flowers and WR Jordan Addison were all still on the board. If that occurs in real life, Adofo-Mensah may feel compelled to make a pick. Or, alternatively, he could look at all of the high-end talent and conclude it’s safe to trade back. A whopping 4 teams were interested in making a deal: the Raiders, Titans, Patriots, and Dolphins. In each instance, the deal would involve forfeiting the opening round entirely.

The Raiders ended up being the successful trade partner. How much did it cost them to jump from 38 up to 23? They needed to toss in the 70th, 109th, and a 2024 5th to make it happen. A nice haul, one that bumps Minnesota up to 7 selections in 2023.

Nov 12, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Drew Sanders (42) in the fourth quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. LSU won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

With that pick, I opted for Drew Sanders, a versatile LB who Minnesota hopes can function as their own version of Micah Parsons. A lofty ambition? Most certainly. A goal worth pursuing? Most certainly.

PFF gave the pick a B- and the trade a B+. Oh, and Las Vegas was hopping up for Witherspoon. Getting him at 23 is a steal.

Draft #3
Trade Partner: Chiefs
Trade Haul: #31 and #63 in exchange for #23
Pick Results: CB Cam Smith and WR A.T. Perry

The last hurrah for our auction of the Vikings’ 23rd pick.

I was left with 3 potential trade partners for this draft. Players we’ve seen before like Kancey, Banks, Bresee, and Robinson were all still on the board. The Chiefs, Raiders, and Patriots were looking to do a swap. Kansas City was the most fascinating since they offered the potential of getting a late 1st and a 2nd-round pick. So, that’s where I started.

As Borat would say, “Great success!” The 23rd got flipped for the 31st and 63rd.

Nov 9, 2019; Columbia, SC, USA; Appalachian State Mountaineers wide receiver Thomas Hennigan (5) tries to elude South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Cam Smith (9) during the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

At 31st overall, I opted for Minnesota’s most pressing need: corner. Cam Smith from South Carolina – who had 196 slot snaps in 2022 – was the pick. When I was back on the clock at 63, I went in the opposite direction, snagging a WR to further bolster the offense. The recent draft profile from Josh Frey persuaded me to opt for A.T. Perry. The 6’3″ receiver who ran a 4.47 forty offers intriguing upside.

By making these moves, the Vikings address a couple of high-impact positions. Each player would get the opportunity to make an immediate impact in 2023. PFF gave us a B for the trade, an A- for the Smith pick, and a B for the Terry pick.

Editor’s Note: Josh Frey has been cranking out draft profiles for PurplePTSD, so readers can read more about Deonte Banks, Drew Sanders, Cam Smith, and A.T. Perry.