Minnesota Vikings Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Jordan Addison, WR, USC – Round 1
Over the past couple of seasons, Adam Thielen was showing signs of age and decline, so it was not surprising that he was a cap casualty for Minnesota. His departure, however, left a big hole across from Justin Jefferson for a No. 2 receiver who can get open against man coverage. Despite having one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Minnesota addressed its receiver need in the first round after having traded away its second-round pick to the Lions for tight end T.J. Hockenson.

The first trait that stands out about Addison is his route-running. He is a smoothly glides through his routs with quick feet and does not take extra steps rounding off cuts. Addison shows some juice out of the break to dart past defenders to gain separation. The shifty athleticism translates to Addison being a nice yards-after-the-catch receiver. He is a slippery runner who spins and cuts his way through the secondary to pick up yardage. While he isn’t big, Addison shows some toughness to fight and finish runs well.

Addison shows some natural ability and polish as well by tracking the pass well down the field. He is reliable to catch the ball and has late hands to not tip off defenders of passes that are coming in over their head. With his skill set, Addison could profile nicely as a slot receiver in the NFL.

The 5-foot-11, 173-pound Addison may end up being limited to the slot because he is thinly framed and underweight. It would help him to add strength, but getting off jams and fighting off bigger cornerbacks could be problems for him in the NFL. While Addison is quick, he does not look like a game-breaker in terms of speed.

Once Addison is comfortable and competent with the playbook, he should be a starter for Minnesota. While Addison may not have the skill set to be a true No. 1 in the NFL, he could be a quality No. 2 to go with Jefferson and a solid pro starter.

2022: Ed Ingram, G
2021: Wyatt Davis, G
2020: Jeff Gladney, CB
2019: Garrett Bradbury, C
2018: Daniel Carlson, K
2017: Pat Elflein, C
2016: Laquon Treadwell, WR
2015: Trae Waynes, CB
2014: Scott Crichton, DE
2013: Xavier Rhodes, CB

Most Likely To Bust

I do not think either wide receiver Jordan Addison or cornerback Mekhi Blackmon is likely to bust. Addison looks like a safe bet to be a starting wideout, and Blackmon should be a solid nickel corner. They were Minnesota’s only selections on Days 1 and 2. A third-day pick not working out in the NFL is not a bust because the vast majority of those selections don’t stick in the pros.

2022: Brian Asamoah, LB
2021: Chazz Surratt, LB
2020: Ezra Cleveland, OT
2019: Dru Samia, G
2018: Brian O’Neill, OT
2017: Ben Gedeon, LB
2016: Willie Beavers, OT
2015: Danielle Hunter, DE
2014: Teddy Bridgewater, QB
2013: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR

Potential Boom Pick

While I did not see a player who had real bust potential, I also don’t see a boom pick for the Vikings. Jordan Addison will be a solid starter and a No. 2 receiver, but not a boom pick to be a true No. 1 due to his size and skill set.

2022: Lewis Cine, S
2021: Christian Darrisaw, OT
2020: Justin Jefferson, WR
2019: Irv Smith Jr., TE
2018: Mike Hughes, CB
2017: Dalvin Cook, RB
2016: Mackensie Alexander, CB
2015: Eric Kendricks, LB
2014: Anthony Barr, LB
2013: Sharrif Floyd, DT

Future Depth Player

Jaren Hall, QB, BYU – Round 5
Hall was a smart pick for the Vikings in the fifth round. Immediately, he upgrades their talent and depth behind Kirk Cousins. Hall has a fringe-starter skill set, but WalterFootball.com knew a number of teams that thought he could be a mid-round steal. The Vikings can sit Hall behind Cousins for a season and develop him. Perhaps Hall impresses enough to be a candidate to replace Cousins as the veteran is aging, declining, and about to be a free agent. Even if Hall doesn’t turn into a starter, I think he is a safe pick to be a solid backup in the NFL.

2022: Akayleb Evans, CB
2021: Kellen Mond, QB
2020: D.J. Wonnum, DE
2019: Alexander Mattison, RB
2018: Jayln Holmes, DE
2017: Bucky Hodges, TE
2016: Kentrell Brothers, LB
2015: Stefon Diggs, WR
2014: Jerick McKinnon, RB
2013: Michael Mauti, LB

Walt’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades:

23. Jordan Addison, WR, USC – A Grade
No one is going to question this need. If Justin Jefferson goes down this year, Minnesota’s No. 1 receiver would be K.J. Osborn. Jordan Addison is a gifted receiver who easily could have gone several picks earlier than this. I love this pick.

102. Mekhi Blackmon, CB, USC – B+ Grade
The Vikings really needed a cornerback, and Mekhi Blackmon is very talented. He’s small, but very speedy. He had a great Senior Bowl to push himself up draft boards. I like him at the end of the third round.

134. Jay Ward, S, LSU – B Grade
The Vikings have a poor secondary, so they needed to add numerous defensive backs to help their woeful pass defense. Jay Ward moved from cornerback to safety at LSU, which proved to be a smooth transition. He’s a sound tackler, and I think he should have gone in this range.

141. Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU – C Grade
I don’t think the Vikings needed to trade up for Jaquelin Roy. They at least had to find a replacement for Dalvin Tomlinson, and Roy has potential as an athletic player. However, he’s a raw player who needs to get stronger.

164. Jaren Hall, QB, BYU – B+ Grade
Kirk Cousins is entering the final year of his contract, so the Vikings had to find a quarterback to groom as a potential successor. We’ll have to see if Hall can develop, but he at least has plus mobility. His arm is fine as well.

222. DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB – B Grade
There’s talk that Dalvin Cook could be traded, so DeWayne McBride might be the No. 2 running back of the future. McBride is a power back, but he lacks speed and agility. Still, he’s a fine pick in the seventh round.

2023 NFL Draft Team Grade: B+. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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