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Minnesota Vikings mock draft: 2022 NFL Draft projections and analysis

Andrew Buller-Russ
Minnesota Vikings
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s become obvious the Minnesota Vikings have no plans to enter a rebuilding phase any time soon under general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s guidance. Instead, after keeping the band together and addressing a few defensive needs, it appears head coach Kevin O’Connell’s team can compete for a playoff spot right away.

Sure, there are still needs to address on both sides of the ball. Is there enough competition along the offensive line? Coach O’Connell recently spoke to having four out of five offensive line starters filled in, but that was before Chris Reed signed. Getting defensive coordinator Ed Donatell more pieces to fit his 3-4 base alignment while filling out the secondary also has to be included.

Hoping to contend immediately, it also wouldn’t surprise anyone if they made a big move to add to the team’s current core by packaging some combination of the draft picks they currently own in the upcoming NFL Draft, which can be found below.

2022 Minnesota Vikings draft picks

  • 1st round: 12th overall
  • 2nd round: 46th overall
  • 3rd round: 77th overall
  • 5th round: 156th overall
  • 6th round: 184th overall
  • 6th round: 191st overall
  • 6th round: 192nd overall
  • 7th round: 251st overall

Let’s dive into our 2022 Minnesota Vikings mock draft, where they currently have eight selections.

Minnesota Vikings mock draft: Rebuilding the defense

Like most years, the Vikings could look toward several different position groups with their first pick, but really they’re in a position to select the best player available.

Some would dream of selecting the top quarterback on the board in an attempt to look to the future, but with Kirk Cousins being an above-average QB, that seems unlikely. Not to mention, with so many others having a stronger need at the position, chances are Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett won’t be available. Instead, the team may look to continue fixing a defense that ranked 24th in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed a year ago.

1st round, 12th overall: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

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The biggest need for the Vikings is still at cornerback, but with Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. possibly off the board by No. 12, the Vikings may find another talented prospect who slips. A case could be made for a trade up to secure Stingley Jr., who has ties to current Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones, or a slight trade down to pick up more draft capital while securing cornerback Trent McDuffie.

In this scenario, we’re staying put at No. 12 and selecting the best player available, while keeping needs in mind. Which, considering how many players are routinely mocked in the top 11 picks, a great prospect should fall right into Minnesota’s laps.

  1. Aidan Hutchinson
  2. Kayvon Thibodeaux
  3. Kyle Hamilton
  4. Evan Neal
  5. Ikem Ekwonu
  6. Kenny Pickett
  7. Travon Walker
  8. Malik Willis
  9. Sauce Gardner
  10. Garrett Wilson
  11. Derek Stingley Jr.

Players unpicked who could also jump into the top-11

  • Charles Cross
  • Jermaine Johnson
  • Jordan Davis
  • George Karlaftis
  • Devin Lloyd

The Vikings are in a great spot, much like last season when Christian Darrisaw fell much further simply because of how the draft board aligned. Perhaps even a corner like Stingley Jr. magically falls into place, but we’ll try and be what I think is more reasonable, as to not get my hopes up too much.

Signing Za’Darius Smith while retaining Danielle Hunter gives the Vikings a chance to have a filthy pass-rush. They also added Harrison Phillips in free agency and still have Dalvin Tomlinson, who make up two-thirds of the defensive line. They still need that third starter.

Sure, there’s plenty of competition among Armon Watts, James Lynch, and Jalen Twyman, but these are all unproven players. Can any of them become a Pro Bowl caliber lineman? It’s possible, but competition breeds excellence and that’s the mindset here.

There’s some concerns about Davis only being a role player at the next level, not being able to play all three downs. But, for the Vikings, at least immediately, that’s ok. Keeping a rotational front is likely in Donatell’s plans anyway, so taking a chance on Davis becoming a menacing force seems worth the risk. He’s certainly an athletic freak, but whether he can come through with a reliable motor is another question. Either way, Davis should be able to plug the run.

Related: See who the Minnesota Vikings select 12th overall in our 2022 NFL Mock Draft

2nd round, 46th overall: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington
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Yes yes, we can all relax, finally addressing cornerback after shamelessly ignoring Trent McDuffie in the first round. The thing is, a starting CB can still be found on the second day, much like they did by plucking Cam Dantzler out of the third round in 2020.

By selecting Kyler Gordon, the Vikings are getting a corner who has shutdown potential. He has experience starting at outside corner and covering the slot, but it’s his quick feet and athleticism that give him the ceiling to be a No. 1 CB at the next level, especially with Patrick Peterson as his mentor.

While he’s very fluid in coverage with great recovery speed, Gordon also packs a punch and isn’t afraid to mix it up. His aggressiveness should lead to plenty of turnovers, both as a hitter and in coverage. Getting a player with Gordon’s makeup in the second round would be a steal.

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3rd round, 77th overall: Luke Fortner, C, Kentucky

NCAA Football: Missouri at Kentucky
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Looking to bring the best out of Garrett Bradbury, the Vikings could look to add a strong contender for his starting gig this spring. Luke Fortner of Kentucky has experience playing both guard and center, so even if Bradbury did prove his mettle, the rookie could still compete for playing time right next to him.

There’s a lot to like about Fortner’s game, but Vikings fans will be intrigued by his size at 6-foot-4, 307 pounds. A strong anchor that isn’t easy to push off his spot, Cousins should have plenty of space and time in the pocket with Fortner at the pivot.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2023 – Lamar Jackson, Deebo Samuel lead the charge

Addressing Minnesota Vikings needs in 2022

  • 5th round, 156th overall: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
  • 6th round, 184th overall: James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech
  • 6th round, 191st overall: Nate Landman, LB, Colorado State
  • 6th round, 192nd overall: Quentin Lake, S, UCLA
  • 7th round, 251st overall: Esezi Otomewo, EDGE, Minnesota

Who do you want to see the Minnesota Vikings draft? Let us know below with your comments and feedback.