Start with 16. Now Toss on 9 to Bring Things Up to 25. Where Does that Leave the Vikings?

2023 NFL Draft
Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys on the clock in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has made 16 selections as the Vikings’ GM. If nothing changes, Adofo-Mensah will add 9 onto the total in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Toss is all together and he will have made 25 draft picks across his opening three years in Minnesota. What did the GM accomplish within those selections? The first and most notable details simply rest on what positions have been prioritized and others that haven’t been. Taking a closer look, though, gives us a better sense of what’s to come in the very near future while also giving us a bit of perspective on how successful these drafts have been.

16 + 9 = 25. Did the Vikings Rebuild? Are they Closer to Being Competitive?

Overhauling the secondary has been a major priority.

Adofo-Mensah’s opening pair of selections gave us the first clue. Safety Lewis Cine — the byproduct of a trade down — and corner Andrew Booth Jr. — the byproduct of a trade up — were picks #1 and #2 in his time as the GM. He then brought in corner Akayleb Evans. During the next draft, Adofo-Mensah drafted corner Mekhi Blackmon and safety Jay Ward.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) looks on prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Now, there are other trends. The GM has scooped up a pair of running backs (Ty Chandler & DeWayne McBride), a pair of receivers (Jalen Nailor & Jordan Addison), and even a quarterback (Jaren Hall). There has been a tight end (Nick Muse), linebacker (Brian Asamoah), and defensive end (Esezi Otomewo). The secondary, though, has been the greatest priority, at least in terms of total picks.

Consider who else has been added in the draft:

The Vikings’ 2022 NFL Draft

PlayerRound & NumberPositionCollegeConference
Cine, Lewis1st RD – 32ndSafetyGeorgiaSEC
Booth Jr., Andrew2nd RD – 42ndCornerClemsonACC
Ingram, Ed2nd RD – 59thGuardLSUSEC
Asamoah, Brian3rd RD – 66thLinebackerOklahomaBig 12
Evans, Akayleb4th RD – 118thCornerMissouriSEC
Otomewo, Esezi5th RD – 165thDefensive EndMinnesotaBig 10
Chandler, Ty5th RD – 169thRunning BackNorth CarolinaACC
Lowe, Vederian6th RD – 184thOffensive TackleIllinoisBig 10
Nailor, Jalen6th RD – 191stWide ReceiverMichigan St.Big 10
Muse, Nick7th RD – 227thTight EndSouth CarolinaSEC

The Vikings’ 2023 NFL Draft

PlayerRound & NumberPositionCollegeConference
Addison, Jordan1st RD – 23rdWide ReceiverUSCPac-12
Blackmon, Mekhi3rd RD – 102ndCornerUSCPac-12
Ward, Jay4th RD – 134thDefensive BackLSUSEC
Roy, Jaquelin5th RD – 141stDefensive TackleLSUSEC
Hall, Jaren5th RD – 164thQuarterbackBYUIndependent
McBride, DeWayne7th RD – 222ndRunning BackUABConference USA

Now go ahead and consider where the team is scheduled to pick, with the precise location courtesy of Tankathon and PFF:

The Vikings’ 2024 NFL Draft

PlayerRound & NumberPositionCollegeConference
1st RD – 11th
2nd RD – 42nd
4th RD – 108th
4th RD – 129th
5th RD – 155th
5th RD – 164th
6th RD – 178th
6th RD – 189th
7th RD – 230th

How do these picks get divvied up? What positions get prioritized?

As the Vikings continue rebuilding their defense, the draft priority is very likely to shift away from the secondary. The front seven has been a pretty major focus in free agency — Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Phillips, Jordan Hicks, Dean Lowry, Marcus Davenport, etc. — but the draft is likely to become a more pronounced avenue for beefing up the position.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dean Lowry (94) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

One also thinks of the offensive line as being an area that needs work. Ed Ingram and Vederian Lowe are the lone two offensive linemen chosen by the Vikings’ GM. Adofo-Mensah has even gotten rid of one of those guys, trading away Lowe in a deal with the Patriots.

The OL depth is pretty skimpy, so expect at least one or two big fellas to get brought in.

One could also make a pretty good case for picking another corner, linebacker, running back, tight end, and/or defensive tackle. Oh, and there’s a need at quarterback, too.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) tries to get past Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) to sack quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Pushing things up to 25 drafted players within a three-year span would be a satisfyingly large number. Did the Vikings do a good job of rebuilding within those selections? No doubt, some of the decisions have been excellent, but there are others that have been pretty disappointing.

Onboarding young, cost-controlled talent is an excellent strategy for a team that’s looking to rebuild, even one that’s simultaneously seeking to maintain its competitiveness while doing so. Minnesota has the option to keep their top-tier players happy with huge deals while still being able to balance the books since they’re layering in so many rookie contracts. These players, though, need to develop into capable contributors.

In the end, the 2024 NFL Draft looks to be a tremendously important one. Nailing picks in the same way that the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams did last year will go a long way in helping the Vikings to cozy up with the competitive portion of their competitive rebuild.

The 2024 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25th.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.