Vikings Draft: Day Three Recap

April 30, 2022

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and company have been deliberate with their approach thus far with the Vikings draft. Fans should be thrilled with the first two selections as Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth project as immediate starters at two of last year’s weakest positions. After that, opinions are… mixed. Day Three is always a little more difficult to judge but I certainly have some thoughts.

Vikings Draft: Day Three

The most significant Day Three pick acquired is the fourth-rounder (pick 122) from the trade with the Colts. This aspect of the deal is valuable because it replaces the Vikings’ original 4th-round pick that was traded for Chris Herndon IV. Herdon, an oft-lamented transaction as the tight end rarely saw the field.

Three more trades took place for the Vikings on Saturday seeing multiple picks be traded more than once. When all was said and done the Vikings traded 122, 156, and 250 in this year’s draft and a 4th round pick in next year’s draft. They also received picks 118, 165, 169, and 227 in this year’s draft. Minnesota also maintained its picks at 184 and 191 totaling six Day Three selections.

Pick 118: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri

Evans is a long-striding outside corner. He is best when using his length to press receivers and covering along the sideline. Evans projects best in a Cover 2 or Cover 4-heavy scheme. He has great length and very good speed but with an athletic profile that should sequester him to the boundary. I just don’t see a ton of value in this selection; especially given the context of trading up to draft him over players like Zion McCollum and Tariq Woolen (Combine freaks). I do not dislike the player or even the archetype, but it is a matter of value. According to several consensus boards, this was a reach but obviously, the Vikings’ draft board is a little different. This could be a guy for whom the coaching staff was really pounding the table.

Pick 165: Esezi Otomewo, DE, Minnesota

Oh, we love a Golden Gopher. Otomewo will add some depth and versatility to the defensive line. Measuring in at 6’5” 282lbs, he will be able to play anywhere from a 2i (inside shoulder of the guard) to a 5-technique (outside shoulder of the tackle). He will probably see his best reps on the inside on pass-rushing downs. Strong hands and good length are solid building blocks for the coaching staff to mold around. He will have a lot to prove in order to crack the rotation in year one.

Pick 169: Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina

Ty Chandler is described by his former coach Mack Brown as “bigger than he looks”. He finishes runs strong and he is a north and south running back. You don’t see much dancing and he is a guy who routinely falls forward. With elite speed coupled with below-average agility, the Tennessee transfer is a one-cut back who can break a big one if he gets a seam. Think: Latavius Murray as I describe his running style, but with a smaller frame (5’11”, 205lbs). He is also a solid receiver out of the backfield. Chandler projects as RB4 but could make a big impact if the Vikings see an injury in the running back room. If you feel like talking yourself into this pick, check out his 2021 tape against Wake Forest.

Pick 184: Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois

Lowe has good size and length for the position at 6’5”, 315lbs, and uses it well. Vikings’ scout Chisom Opara is confident that he could function in a zone or a power scheme. Some negatives that scouts have pointed out are that he often sets high. Despite this, the Vikings feel confident that he has the versatility to move inside to guard in the future. He is a player that the team has been high on throughout the draft process. With other buzz-worthy names like Rasheed Walker and Thayer Mumford still available, the Vikings’ front office trusted their board with this selection.

Pick 191: Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State

Nailor missed a lot of games over his collegiate career. That’s probably a large part of why he fell as far as he did because he had good production when he was on the field. Measuring in at 5’11” with short arms (just over 30”), he projects as strictly a slot receiver where he won’t have to deal with longer press corners. He is sure-handed with good athleticism and will definitely be able to compete for a roster spot come August.

Pick 227: Nick Muse, TE, South Carolina

Muse has good athleticism and natural big-play ability. He gives up some strength at the point of attack but is an eager blocker who plays to the whistle. Muse ran a 4.70 40-yard dash at 6’5” 250 lbs. He could be a serviceable replacement for Tyler Conklin’s role if he hits his ceiling. The door is open right now for him to make the roster as the third tight end.

Ultimately, I did not find Day Three of the Draft to be particularly redeeming of Day Two. We need to try to suspend judgment until we’ve seen this draft class on the field. Kwesi pulled off some excellent Wall Street moves to acquire assets and put his team in good spots. Time will tell how the players selected will pan out.