Vikings Mock Draft: A Trade Down Adds Another Top-100 Pick
Folks, we’ve been doing this Vikings mock draft series since the offseason officially began on January 16th. And now, we only have four more of these mock drafts left until the actual 2023 NFL Draft officially gets underway.
Because of that, we’re going to try and mix things up a little bit with these final mock drafts and highlight a few prospects that haven’t gotten much of limelight to this point in the process. With that, let’s get into this week’s mock.
Considering the Vikings are going into this NFL Draft with only two top-100 picks, it makes sense that Minnesota would attempt to trade down and snag another one of them. The biggest question here lies in who exactly could be a good fit for them to trade with.
This time around, we have the Vikings making a deal with the Indianapolis Colts. In terms of the actual trade, here is what the Minnesota Vikings received:
- 2023 second-round pick (No. 35)
- 2023 third-round pick (No. 79)
- 2024 fifth-round pick
And the Colts received:
- 2023 first-round pick (No. 23)
Round 2, Pick 35: Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
After spending most of his first two seasons as a rotational outside linebacker at Alabama, Drew Sanders transferred to Arkansas and immediately saw his role grow with a move to the MIKE spot.
Sanders possesses a potent combination of strength and speed, and he remains versatile enough to play multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball. He remains at his best when utilized as a pass rusher, but he saw a steady improvement in the other MIKE duties as well.
Particularly if Minnesota wants to focus on finding a future replacement for Jordan Hicks to pair with Brian Asamoah (assuming Asamoah earns a starting role with the team), the Vikings could do a lot worse than Sanders as a prospect.
Round 3, Pick 79: Michigan CB D.J. Turner
Unless the Vikings pick up another veteran CB at some point before the draft, Minnesota seems destined to take another cornerback with a top-100 pick in this year’s draft.
D.J. Turner has ridiculous speed, recording a 4.26 40-yard dash at the combine this spring, and while he may get bullied early on by bigger receivers, he has outstanding technique and the length to compete at the NFL level.
Round 3, Pick 87: SMU WR Rashee Rice
Rashee Rice is quietly one of the more athletic wide receivers in this class. At the combine, he only put together a 4.51 40-yard dash, but his 1.49 10-yard split showcases explosive speed into his routes. He also posted a 41-inch vertical, showcasing even more athleticism.
Rice certainly has some growing to do as a player, particularly in the case of limiting his drops. Regardless, that doesn’t take away the fact that he brings terrific size and length to the field, and he has the capability to run smooth, efficient routes. If Minnesota wants to take a receiver at some point in Day 2, Rice should be near the top of the list.
Round 4, Pick 119: Tulane RB Tyjae Spears
If there is a running back from the group of players behind Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs that I would bet on to become a star in the NFL, it is Tyjae Spears out of Tulane. He put up ridiculous numbers throughout his collegiate career, averaging nearly seven yards per carry over his four-year career with the Green Wave and recording 30 touchdowns over his final two seasons.
There’s a chance that he gets taken in the second day of the draft, but if he falls into the fourth round, the Vikings should absolutely take a chance on him for his abilities as a rusher and ever-growing prowess as a receiver.
Round 5, Pick 158: Texas DL Moro Ojomo
Now that Dalvin Tomlinson has officially left in free agency, the Vikings need more depth on the interior of their defensive line. Moro Ojomo can provide that out of Texas as a proficient pass rusher at defensive tackle. He’s even got the length that could allow the Vikings to kick him outside on occasion. Regardless, Minnesota had one of the weakest pass rushes in all the NFL this past season, and it needs to change with some quality depth.
Round 6, Pick 211: Penn State IOL Juice Scruggs
This late in the draft, we’re all about taking flyers on players that could fill needs down the road. Juice Scruggs has experience at both center and guard for Penn State.
Garrett Bradbury is back on a new contract, but it is understandable to be wary of the back injury that plagued him down the stretch of the 2022 season. Additionally, unless Ezra Cleveland gets an extension this offseason, he’ll hit the market in 2024. Scruggs is a fierce run blocker in the middle of an offensive line that can provide some depth at these uncertain positions.
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.