ESPN Ranks the Vikings 2022 Draft Class Among the Bottom 10 in the NFL

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, excitement and optimism oozed from Vikings fans as folks prepared for the first draft led by new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Now, about 9.5 months later, the 2022 season for the Vikings rookies, and the team in general, ultimately ends in disappointment. For the Vikings 2022 Draft class specifically, ESPN has ranked them among the bottom 10 in terms of production this year at No. 25 in the NFL.

ESPN Ranks the Vikings 2022 Draft Class Among the Bottom 10 in the NFL
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Here is what Aaron Schatz and Alex Vigderman had to say about the group:

“The Vikings lost their top two picks to injury for most of the season, as first-round safety Lewis Cine played only three games and second-round cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. played only six. So their most valuable rookie was their next player selected, offensive lineman Ed Ingram. He started all 17 games at right guard but had disappointing numbers in ESPN’s tracking stats: 44th in RBWR and 62nd out of 63 qualifying guards in PBWR.

There were also small contributions from a handful of other rookies. Wide receiver Jalen Nailor had seven catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in the final two games of the regular season. Undrafted punter Ryan Wright was slightly below average in both gross and net punt value. Cornerback Akayleb Evans earned two starts at midyear but allowed 12.3 yards per target (in a small sample of 20 targets). Linebacker Brian Asamoah II primarily played special teams but finally started getting defensive snaps in December and had 14 combined tackles between Week 15 and Week 17.”

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) performs a drill at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

This is a very fair of assessment of the group of rookies. As they mentioned, the Vikings were in a difficult spot to begin with as their top two picks, S Lewis Cine and CB Andrew Booth, missed most of the season with injuries. Granted, they weren’t getting on the field much even prior to their seasons ended, but this didn’t help the group at all in terms of overall production.

Instead, much of the groups production relied on Minnesota’s third, fourth, and fifth picks of the draft: G Ed Ingram, LB Brian Asamoah, and CB Akayleb Evans. Ingram was the only draft pick to play all 17 games this season at right guard, but as the excerpt above states, there were some moments of struggle for the rookie.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) defends against Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Vernon Butler (94) in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the 2022 season certainly did not go according to plan for many of the Vikings rookies. However, it’s far too early to determine whether the class is a success or failure, especially with how many injuries occurred. Considering that the Vikings have fewer picks in 2023, and they will likely see a number of veteran players leave this offseason, the 2023 season will likely be a much clearer evaluation of what this class can actually do.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.