The Vikings mock draft 2022 NFL Draft is a hard one to nail down. The Vikings have so many needs and they’re in a win-now approach. More than any time in recent memory, it’s imperative the draft picks make immediate impacts.
For this Vikings mock draft, I used the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator.
You can check out The Daily Skol Vikings Mock Draft 1.0 to see how this one differs.
Vikings Draft Needs
The most obvious need for the Vikings in the draft is CB. Currently, the Vikings only have two NFL starting-caliber cornerbacks in Cam Dantzler and former Packer, Chandon Sullivan. After the first two, they’re down the likes of Harrison Hand and Kris Boyd who should be fifth or sixth on the depth chart. The NFL is a passing league now, teams need four cornerbacks they can account on.
NOTE: After this article was written the Vikings resigned Patrick Peterson but CB still remains too priority.
Next on the list is the offensive line. The most notable spot to address is center. Garrett Bradbury has been nothing short of a disappointment. Bradbury was drafted 18th overall in the 2019 draft and hasn’t lived up to his draft position. He’s constantly bullied and forklifted by opposing defensive tackles and scored among the worst centers in the NFL by PFF.
Less important but still very important positions to address are edge, interior defensive line, and guard. The Vikings are moving to a more 3-4 focused defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. They are in great shape in most positions in the front seven. Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith, Eric Kendricks, Jordan Hicks, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Harrison Philips. However, they still need another 3-4 type defensive end. Right now James Lynch or Armon Watts are favorites for the second defensive end spot. That’s not ideal, to say the least. DJ Wonnum is simply too small to play as a down lineman in a 3-4 set.
Another area that’s short on talent is at guard. Ezra Cleveland did well enough last season to have another shot, but on the other side, Oli Udoh was an abomination. Addressing center will certainly improve the play of the two guards next to him but another NFL-level starting guard is high on the list.
First Round, #12 Overall: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The position of greatest need for the Vikings is also a great need for many other teams. It’s not surprising that both Derek Stingley and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner are gone. The draft simulator didn’t allow any of the highest-rated prospects to drop to the Vikings either. The Vikings are left with a choice of :
- Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
- Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
- Jodan Davis, DI, Georgia.
Giving Kirk Cousins another weapon is appealing but the needs elsewhere are so dire, that I passed on Wilson. Linderbaum certainly plays a position the Vikings desperately need to upgrade but #12 overall is too high. Linderbaum also has many of the same weaknesses as Garrett Bradbury had going into the draft such as questions on strength. With the strength question and him being a reach at #12 overall, I passed on Linderbaum.
It came down to Davis and McDuffie for me. There are wide-ranging views on Davis, from being a generational interior lineman to being a late first-round pick. The Vikings can certainly use another interior lineman, particularly if he’s a generational talent. However, with the signing of Harrison Phillips, it’s not as dire a need as CB.
I went with McDuffie at #12 because he was the best combination of need and best player available. He isn’t as physically gifted as Gardner or Stingley, but he has some traits they don’t. He’s excellent in both man and zone coverage skills. Gardner and Stingley have little zone experience. This may seem like a small thing but the new defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell’s system is likely to be Cover-1 & match zone concepts. So, McDuffie’s ability to be equally effective in zone and man is a plus.
McDuffie also is a first-rate athlete and also gitty player that loves tackling. Sound familiar? Yeah, sounds a little like Antoine Winfield to me. Undersized but a hard-nosed tackler with a good motor? As mentioned above, McDuffie also possesses elite cover skills and better-than-average speed.
Second Round, #46 Overall: DeMarvin Leal, EDGE, Texas
Leal has an impressive combination of speed and power. He stands at six-foot-four and 284 pounds, a good but not ideal size for a 3-4 defensive end. He plays well against the run and in pass rush. However, he needs to develop more moves as he often loses when his first technique fails.
Leal is graded as a second-round pick by top scouts. That will make him a player the Vikings could be looking at with their second pick. Armon Watts was better in 2021 than expected but if they can upgrade a DE spot in the draft it would be a wise move.
Third Round, #77 Overall: Dylan Parham, G, Memphis
Parham is a man without a position. At the NFL level his six-foot-three, 313-pound frame is too small to play tackle. However, he’s an adequate size to play both center and guard.
Parham has the athleticism teams like but lacks prototypical mass and strength for OG. Parham has a high football IQ and having played TE, LB, and three OL positions, shows he’s a fast learner. Worst case scenario is the Vikings get a swing lineman that can play guard and center in a backup role.
Garrett Bradbury’s struggles make finding other options even more important and Parham can be that player. He’s going to need some development to play center so may need to be a backup for Bradbury as a rookie. He could be good insurance as a rookie, in case Bradbury is injured.