Re-Grading Each Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Draft Pick for the Vikings in 2022 and 2023

NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings since January 2022. In that time, the executive has done a fine job adding talent to the roster. Not shy to make trades, Adofo-Mensah has demonstrated an ability to maneuver and still end up with the guy he wants.

The GM’s first draft in 2022 was hit-or-miss, to say the least. In 2023, there appear to be at least two future stars that Adofo-Mensah added. Obviously, it’s too soon to grade the 2024 draft picks because we haven’t seen any of them play yet. Even the 2022 and 2023 draft picks are early in their careers, but we’ve seen enough to update the grades for these players.

Today, let’s go back and re-grade the 16 players drafted by Adofo-Mensah in his first two seasons at the helm in the Twin Cities.

2022 Draft Picks

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

The 2022 draft for the Minnesota Vikings was a mixed bag. The beginning of the draft was bad, but the GM made up for it towards the end.

Round 1: Lewis Cine

Lewis Cine was taken with the final pick of the first round in 2022. Unfortunately, an injury took away his rookie season and he was relegated to the bench in his sophomore campaign. Cine has yet to start a game in the NFL and has made just one tackle.

It’s not entirely Cine’s fault as injuries have played a major role in his lack of development. However, it’s hard to not view this as an utter failure of a first-round pick. Considering the Bears and Texans both got a better safety than Cine in the second round, it’s hard to not grade this as an F.

Grade: F

Round 2: Andrew Booth

Andrew Booth is another defensive back who was highly drafted and has not lived up that billing. Booth has started in just two games to this point and has just 20 tackles. Once again, Booth has dealt with injuries, but that doesn’t make up for the disappointment.

Booth figures to battle for a roster spot this season behind Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon, and Khyree Jackson. There’s still a chance Booth works out, but it’s looking less and less likely.

Grade: D-

Round 2: Ed Ingram

Ed Ingram has been a mixed bag as a pro. At times, the guard has thrived in run blocking and has looked like an average starter. At other times, Ingram has looked like he needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The guard earned a 57.1 PFF grade in 2022 and led the league with 11 sacks allowed. In 2023, the results were better, but still not great. Ingram earned a 59.5 PFF grade last season and allowed five sacks.

Since being drafted, Ingram has played almost every snap for the Vikings. Some of those snaps haven’t been great, but he’s been a useful player.

Grade: C

Round 3: Brian Asamoah

Brian Asamoah is another 2022 draft pick who has yet to start a game. The off-ball linebacker fell behind 2023 UDFA Ivan Pace Jr. on the depth chart and never regained his spot.

Asamoah has just 24 tackles and one forced fumble to show for himself thus far in the NFL. Considering Nakobe Dean and Terrel Bernard were still on the board at this point, it’s hard to not grade this pick harshly.

Grade: D

Round 4: Akayleb Evans

Akayleb Evans was probably not the defensive back Adofo-Mensah thought was going to become an above-average starter. However, Evans has developed into a fine starter for the Vikings and has firmly cemented himself in the defensive plans. Evans has racked up 88 tackles, one interception, nine pass defenses, and four forced fumbles.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Deven Thompkins (83) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Having a fourth-round pick become a mainstay on the roster is always a great thing. Having a fourth-round pick turn into a player like Evans is even better.

Grade: A+

Round 5: Esezi Otomewo

Here, we have the first 2022 draft pick who is no longer on the roster. Esezi Otomewo looked promising as a piece on the defensive line, but he was undersized for the interior and not explosive enough for the edge. As a rookie, Otomewo collected five tackles and one tackle for loss in a reserve role.

However, the former Golden Gopher was unable to make the roster for a second season and has since latched on with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a fifth-round selection, sure, but it would have been nice to have a player like Kingsley Enagbare who went 14 picks later.

Grade: D

Round 5: Ty Chandler

With the second fifth-round selection, the Vikings went with former North Carolina and Tennessee running back Ty Chandler. Chandler didn’t see much action as a rookie, but he played in all 17 games for the Vikings in 2023.

Chandler rushed 102 times for 461 yards and three touchdowns in 2023. The Vikings’ entire rushing attack was underwhelming in 2023, but Chandler was probably the bright spot. It will be interesting to see if Chandler can stick around for 2024 and provide a depth option behind Aaron Jones.

Grade: B+

Round 6: Vederian Lowe

Vederian Lowe saw playing time sparingly as a rookie, appearing in four games but getting no starts. Prior to the 2023 roster deadline, Lowe was flipped to the New England Patriots for a late-round pick. Lowe ended up starting a few games for the Patriots but never did anything for the Vikings.

It’s a late-round flier, this one just didn’t work out. It’s not an F because Adofo-Mensah was able to recoup some draft capital.

Grade: D

Round 6: Jalen Nailor

Jalen Nailor is an interesting player. The speedy receiver seems like the type who would get playing time in a Kevin O’Connell offense, but he just hasn’t gotten that yet. Nailor has just one start in two seasons and has caught 12 passes for 208 yards.

Nailor figures to be in the running for the WR3 or WR4 jobs this season, but he needs to show something this summer. Nailor could still end up being a useful piece.

Grade: C

Round 7: Nick Muse

Nick Muse has yet to factor in much in Minnesota. The tight end has appeared in 12 games over two seasons with no starts. The TE has just one catch for 22 yards and is entrenched as the TE4.

Grade: C

2023 Draft Picks

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Draft Picks
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on stage after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, Adofo-Mensah was able to land two players with his first two picks who look like future stars. The rest of the draft is yet to be determined, but the top of this class is strong.

Round 1: Jordan Addison

Jordan Addison burst on the scene as a rookie, catching 70 passes for 911 yards and 10 TDs. This was even while the Vikings were playing musical chairs with the QB position. Addison was not only one of the best rookie receivers, he was one of the more reliable receivers in the league. If Addison can build on his strong rookie season in 2024, we could be looking at another Justin Jefferson-type receiver in Minnesota.

Grade: A+

Round 3: Mekhi Blackmon

Like Addison, Mekhi Blackmon was one of the best rookies at his position in 2023. Blackmon collected 41 tackles, eight pass deflections, and one interception. The corner immediately surpassed former second-round selection Andrew Booth and became a valuable starter.

Blackmon could build off his strong rookie season to become one of the league’s better corners in 2024. This is great value for a third-round selection.

Grade: A+

Round 4: Jay Ward

Jay Ward didn’t start any games as a rookie, but he played in all 17 as a special teamer. The former LSU Tiger collected eight tackles and recovered a fumble. Adofo-Mensah

It’s hard to judge this pick considering Ward could develop into a larger role. Josh Metellus took a few seasons to develop, and the same could happen for Ward.

Grade: C

Round 5: Jaquelin Roy

Jaquelin Roy is a player who the Vikings will want to step up in 2024. The former LSU Tiger got one start as a rookie and ended the season with eight tackles and one tackle for loss. As a fifth-round pick, that’s about the production you’d expect. However, I have a feeling this grade will be different after the season if Roy steps up.

Grade: C

Round 5: Jaren Hall

Jaren Hall was thrust into action as a rookie when Kirk Cousins suffered a devastating Achilles injury. Hall then suffered his own injury and was replaced by veteran Joshua Dobbs, who took the league by storm for a few weeks.

Hall looked decent before his injury but ended the season completing just 13-of-20 passes for 168 yards and one INT with zero TDs. It’ll now be an uphill battle for Hall to remain on the team in 2024 as rookie JJ McCarthy, and veterans Sam Darnold and Nick Mullens are all in town. It’s easy to think this pick could’ve been used on a player who would have more staying power in Minnesota.

Grade: D

Round 7: DeWayne McBride

DeWayne McBride spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad. The RB failed to impress in the preseason and didn’t earn any snaps even as the Vikings’ rushing attack struggled. In 2024, McBride is behind Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and Myles Gaskin on the depth chart. Unless McBride has developed quickly, it’s hard to imagine him cracking this roster.

Still, I won’t give it an F because McBride’s speed was worth a seventh-round flier.

Grade: D-


Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

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