With the 2022 NFL Draft upon us, here’s how the Minnesota Vikings could fix their defense for the upcoming season.
The Vikings right now don’t have a ton of top-end draft capital. But their picks are high enough that they can still get several starters in this draft. With their offensive depth, they can take some dart throws in the later rounds of the NFL Draft on defense.
Minnesota is still within range of the Packers this year, but they need to hit on this draft to make it happen over the next two seasons. Here’s how they could make that happen:
1st round 12th overall- Kyle Hamilton, S Notre Dame
Hamilton is a bit of an enigma in this year’s NFL Draft; his tape does not match his athletic scores. We saw Hamilton look like an elite player at the next level; then, his combine tanked his stock.
I trust the film far more on Hamilton than I do his combine or pro-day scores. This can be an elite safety for years to come, with great size and sideline to sideline ability. They cant lose here at 12th overall, as the top-end EDGE and OL should be gone.
2nd round 46th overall- Nkobe Dean, LB UGA
Dean is similar to Hamilton, where doing nothing at the combine didn’t help. Now there are also some injury concerns as well. The biggest one, though, right now is, was Dean so good because the front line of Georgia was that elite?
The Vikings need an effective linebacker, and wouldn’t you know it; they have a decent front line. Dean could be a steal here for the Vikings or be one of their bigger busts, of the last few years.
3rd round 77th overall- Zachary Carter, IDL Florida
I am not sure about you but seeing a guy that size run a sub-5 40-yard dash is moving. He might be better placed as a defensive end at the next level, but he’s got the size right now to learn how to stay inside. He will be a valuable tool for the Vikings moving forward.
Right now, Carter might be a little underrated due to questions about where he should play. But, on defense, with massive questions in the secondary, anything they can do to stop the quarterback from going through reads, getting to the outside, or having all day to stand in the pocket is a must.
5th round 156h overall- Jaylen Watson, CB Washington State
I like Watson more than I should; he ran well for his size and is a tall, lanky corner. He may end up being a better safety later on than a corner, but right now, he matches up well with anyone in the NFC North.
He will need a learning curve from a lower-end school, but the tools and size are there. Some more consistency would be nice from him. But, if you want a cardboard cut out of what type of corner you want in this day and age, Watson is it.
6th round 184th overall- Ty Fryfogel, WR Indiana
If Ty had a consistent quarterback or quarterback play during his time and he was more consistent year to year, he would be in talks for a top-60 pick. The Vikings already have a great one-two punch at wide receiver, but this will allow Justin Jefferson to play any pass-catching position.
Ty can also jump out of the building and is not afraid to go over the middle. While he fell here in my mock, come draft day, I expect him to possibly go in the fourth round. Another guy where I see a 4.5 40-yard dash, and I am not worried due to his gait and size, he will still be fast and elusive enough at the next level.
6th round 191st overall- Alex Wright, EDGE UAB
This is a massive, massive dude. At 6-foot-7 defensive end with decent arms and a good burst of the edge. I wanted to see him show some athletic ability at the combine, but he didn’t do any drills.
This is another project player who has the size and tools but will need a lot of work to be a viable every-down player. If they can get the most out of him and be able to rotate 3-4 guys at the defensive end and continue keeping the pressure on Goff, Fields, and Rodgers they have hope in this division.
6th round 192nd overall- Cade Hall, EDGE San Jose State
The Vikings need to find an answer at pass rush and going back to back edge; if they can hit on one, it’s a win. Hall may be the better overall player at this moment, but Wright has the better upside. I wouldn’t knock them for doing this; they have been having issues consistently getting to the quarterback. Injuries for the Vikings have also been a concern.
7th round 250th overall- Mykael Wright, CB Oregon
Whereas Watson earlier was more of your prototype player, Wright is not. He did play well at Oregon, though he is undersized. This Vikings secondary needs all the help they can get. Should he get up to around 185-190lbs by the start of the season, he might find some time in the slot or at safety if one of theirs drops down to play linebacker or cover the slot WR. With the 250th pick in the NFL Draft, you could do worse than Mykael Wright.