Grading Every Vikings 2023 Draft Pick
The 2023 NFL Draft wrapped up on Saturday afternoon, and by the time it came to an end, the Minnesota Vikings had made a grand total of six selections after swinging a trio of trades. Now that we know who makes up the Vikings 2023 draft class, it’s time to grade each of these picks. Let us know on either Facebook or Twitter if you agree with the grades.
Round 1, Pick 23: WR Jordan Addison
Three years ago, the Vikings selected Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and almost immediately he burst onto the scene as a star and one of the best players in the entire league. Is Jordan Addison going to become that? No, probably not.
The thing is, though, Minnesota doesn’t need him to be a superstar. They just need him to be a consistent player that can rack up around 1000 yards per season. He is plenty capable of being that type of WR2, especially playing alongside Jefferson.
That being said, I cannot in good faith give this grade an A while also looking at cornerback, a position that I’ve harped on as a massive need all offseason, and seeing both Joey Porter Jr. and Deonte Banks available when this pick happened.
Round 3, Pick 102: CB Mekhi Blackmon Jr.
For this pick, we also have to take into account the trade that got the Vikings to the selection of Mekhi Blackmon Jr. The Vikings got the 102nd, 164th, and 222nd picks in the draft in exchange for that 87th overall pick.
Personally, the selection of Blackmon with the final pick in the third round is a touch early for my taste, but given the need for a cornerback, particularly one that can play on the boundary with consistency, it’s tough to view this trade and selection as anything other than a win at this point in time.
Round 4, Pick 134: DB Jay Ward
This may be my favorite pick of the draft class even if the Vikings took him a touch earlier than I would have. Jay Ward is another result of the trade with the San Francisco 49ers, and it is not hyperbole to say that he will be able to fill in any area of the Vikings’ defensive backfield.
Ward has experience playing cornerback either on the boundary or in the slot, he can play some free safety, and he can step into the box and be a de facto linebacker and run-stopper. This versatility opens up boatloads of options for a Brian Flores defense.
Round 5, Pick 141: DT Jaquelin Roy
Ever since the loss of Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency, the Vikings have needed a true run-stuffer in the middle of their defensive line. During his career at LSU, Jaquelin Roy has been precisely that for the Tigers, but can he translate those skills to the NFL level?
He probably won’t be a starter for the Vikings this year, but there is something to be said of the fact that Roy’s motor is up there with anyone in this draft class at the defensive tackle position. He played 50+ snaps in 9 games during 2022. Perhaps this can power him to a larger role at the NFL level one day.
Round 5, Pick 164: QB Jaren Hall
Jaren Hall has a few concerns due to his lack of size and questionable arm strength, but he knows how to read through progressions and make smart plays with the football. His mobility adds an extra element to his game as well and will be in the back of the defense’s mind on a weekly basis. The Vikings could do a lot worse than this in a fifth-round quarterback, especially considering the run of QBs that went earlier in the day.
Round 7, Pick 222: RB DeWayne McBride
DeWayne McBride was one of the most productive running backs over his time at UAB. He totaled more than 3000 rushing yards and 32 rushing TDs over the past two seasons, and throughout his collegiate career, he averaged a ridiculous 7.3 yards per carry.
We have to keep in mind, though, that he played in Conference USA, and there wasn’t a ton of top competition in that group of teams. Additionally, he’s never showcased a capability to be a pass-catcher out of the backfield, something the Vikings need more than anything at the running back position right now. This move doesn’t change much for the Vikings in the backfield.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.