This year the Minnesota Vikings will have five draft selections in rounds five through seven, with three picks in the sixth round alone. Teams can make the most of their draft capital by hitting on late round picks. So let’s look at some potential Vikings Draft Sleeper Picks.
Vikings Draft Sleeper Picks
Danny Gray, WR, SMU
Danny Gray can be described in one word, speedster. In March, Gray ran a 4.33 40-yard time at the combine, ranking fourth among wide receivers, a surprise to nobody who watched his tape from the 2022 season.
The Vikings lack a true burner at wide receiver, and Gray can fill that void. He will consistently take the top off defenses and simply has another gear with the ball in space. Adding Danny Gray in the later rounds would provide a new dimension to the Vikings’ offense.
Gray struggled as a technical route runner in college. However, having route technicians like Adam Thielen to learn from, combined with the coaching ability of Keenan McCardell, would provide Gray with all the tools become the complete package.
Key Stat: 8.6 YAC/R, which ranks 11th among eligible WRs, per PFF.
Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee
The Vikings should be looking to draft a corner with their first selection at #12. However, adding another cornerback in the later rounds feels necessary with such little depth at the position. Alontae Taylor would provide immediate depth, with the potential to become a starter in 2023.
Taylor has all the athletic ability to become a starting outside corner in the NFL. He possesses excellent length and clocked the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash time for a cornerback at this year’s combine.
Additionally, during his time at Tennessee, Taylor proved that he understands how to play inside a zone scheme, which would make him a near-ideal fit for the defensive scheme new Vikings DC Ed Donatell will bring to Minnesota. If Taylor is available in the fifth round, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would be hard-pressed not to make him a Viking.
Key Stat: Allowed 29 receptions on 464 coverage snaps in 2021, per PFF.
JT Woods, S, Baylor
Behind Harrison Smith and Cam Bynum, there is very little depth at the safety position. Adding JT Woods from Baylor would provide Ed Donatell with an athletic freak to develop into a potential starter when Smith hangs it up.
Woods set a 4.36 40-yard time proving that he has the top-end speed for a safety. This type of speed gives Woods the potential to be a dual-threat to defend both the run and pass.
Scouts’ big concern with Woods is his ability to stick with his assignments and avoid busted coverages. In addition, his indecisiveness in coverage for a four-year player has raised red flags for evaluators. Combining those issues with his below-average tackling ability in run support, you have a project piece. But what better player to learn from than Harrison Smith?
Key Stat: 55.7 Passer Rating allowed on 37 targets in 2021, per PFF.
The Bottom Line
The Vikings need to look to add depth, specifically in the secondary, the weakest point on the roster. However, finding the next superstar player on Day 3 of the NFL Draft is marginally impossible. But, players like Alontae Taylor, JT Woods, and Danny Gray all have the athletic traits to become starters. It would rest on Kevin O’Connell and his staff to realize the potential of these players in the NFL.
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