Minnesota Vikings 2023 3 Round Mock Draft

It’s crazy to think we’re already ⅔ of the way through the 2022 NFL season, truly a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sport.  However we have some of the most exciting football ahead, leading into the playoffs, and then the 2-month process that is draft season, with free agency sprinkled in the middle.  However if you’ve been following along, we’ve been doing draft deep dives since the beginning of November, a true year round activity.  Today we’ll do a 3 round mock draft picking for the Vikings, with the other 31 teams being picked by Pro Football Network’s simulator, which if you want to try for yourself.  We’ll be picking at number 29, with the Vikings first, at 93, with their 3rd, and 111, with the Lions 4th.  The Vikings sent their 2nd round pick this year to the Lions in a package for T.J. Hockenson, and got that pick 111 4th rounder back in the deal.  

Round 1
In the first, we were left with multiple outstanding prospects to pick from.  Among them, we could have gone the route of picking up a QB heir apparent in Hendon Hooker, however strayed away due to injury concerns, and his age, which at 25, could fit the Vikings timeline, but the upside simply isn’t there, as he’s more of a high-floor, low ceiling type player.  He would fit the Vikings win-now ambitions but wouldn’t be enough of an upgrade over Kirk, and isn’t a developmental prospect with amazing potential like Florida’s Anthony Richardson.  We had both Interior Offensive Line and Tackle reinforcements on the board, in O’Cyrus Torrence, a guard from Florida, and Offensive Tackles Anton Harrison and Matthew Bergeron. 

None of these stood out as elite prospects at their positions as much as the guy we did decide to take however.  Had Peter Skoronski or Broderick Jones not gone at 20 and 21 to the Steelers and Titans respectively, we would have without question taken a good look at either protector.  However the talent was too good to pass up with Bijan Robinson available, a prospect often compared to the likes of Saquon Barkley coming out of Penn State, or Jonathan Taylor coming out of Wisconsin.  It is decently likely Robinson lands in the top-15 with a more RB-needy time than the Vikings.  With Alexander Mattison hitting free agency, and Dalvin Cook going on 28 by the time the 2023 season rolls around, the Vikings could immediately replace Cook with a similarly talented player, with 7 less years of tread.  Robinson has been arguably the best player in college football, and although a first round pick is a premium price to pay for the ever decreasingly valued RB position, the Vikings should also be able to ship off Cook for a 2nd-3rd round pick in this scenario, ideally to an opposite conference team that would most likely be a contender unfortunately.  Although it would not be a best case scenario to strengthen an opposing contender, it’d be better than letting the likes of Robinson fall into their hands and dealing with him for much longer than the Vikings would have to face Cook for. 

Robinson is the whole package, and at 6 ‘0, 215 pounds has the ideal frame for a bellcow NFL running back.  He is strong, versatile, and shifty as a runner, while also being an elite pass-catcher.  As a freshman, Robinson carried the ball 86 times for 703 yards, an average of 8.2 YPC.  As a receiver, he caught 15 balls for 196 yards, an average of 13.1 yards per catch, almost Wide Receiver like numbers.  His sophomore year he not only was efficient, but an elite scoring threat as well, toting the rock double the times as his freshman year, for a total of 195 carries, for 1,127 yards and a 5.8 YPC average.  He added 11 touchdowns, and almost 300 yards and 4 touchdowns as a receiver. Finally his junior year, where he has so far ran for 1,580 yards, at a clip of 6.1 YPC, 18 touchdowns, and 314 receiving yards at an average of 16.5 yards per catch.  Robinson is doing this all with opposing teams knowing he is the primary offensive threat, in a formidable Big-12 Conference.  Yeah, he’ll be elite for whatever team he ends up on.  

Round 3
In round 3, there was yet another group of intriguing prospects available.  The most obvious, and the need-based pick would be Warren McLendon, offensive tackle from Georgia, who is a force, and would play well both as a pass protector and run blocker for the Purple and Gold.  However when there is a talent like Oregon’s Quarterback, Bo Nix available in the middle rounds of the draft, you have to jump all over it. 

The philosophy battle between need-based and talent-based drafting will continue, however teams seem to be most successful accumulating the most talent as they can, and figuring out the rest later, and with a position so highly valued as Quarterback, with a good developmental prospect such as Nix still on the board, the Vikings should look to pounce in this scenario.  He would be able to sit behind Kirk for at least 1 season, if not the ‘24 season as well, based on how well coaches believe his development is coming along.  That would require the Vikings to add one year to Kirk’s extension, but they’ve shown the willingness in the past to do as such. 

Nix was a 5-star Auburn commit out of high school, and had high expectations to come with it.  However at Auburn he had 3 slightly above-average seasons, however one thing that shined was his ability to play turnover free football.  He had a 2.44:1 TD:INT ratio through 3 years at Auburn and passed for around 2,500 yards in each season.  However he was not touted as much of an NFL prospect after these 3 years, and would need a good senior season to solidify his stock. He transferred to Oregon, and the rest has been history.  He’s had an amazing, breakout senior season, throwing for 3,400 yards in just 12 games, and 27 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions.  That touchdown tally is 11 higher than his best season at Auburn, which just so happened to be his freshman year.  Nix has an ideal NFL QB build, at  6 ‘3, 214 lbs, and has all the talent, with some minor fix-ups to be made to his game. 

First off, it would’ve been nice to see more consistency from Nix through his college career, rather than a great freshman year, two dud years, and a spectacular senior season after transferring to Oregon.  However if he was a perfect prospect, he wouldn’t be available this far down the board either.  Nix is a somewhat agile runner, however don’t mistake him for a dual-threat quarterback, as he’ll be able to make some runs when necessary, but won’t have it as a main facet of his game.  He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash so he has the speed to evade most defensive linemen and some pass rushers, but don’t expect high rushing totals throughout his NFL career.  Nix is a great decision maker for his age, and gets the ball out quick on short and intermediate throws.  He throws with good accuracy in the short and intermediate, but lacks consistent deep-ball accuracy that we’d like to see.  He is able to keep the defense honest on read option plays, and did run the ball 84 times for 504 yards this year, his highest total in his college career.  Some of Nix’s mechanics could use work, as just as his stats were inconsistent through his college career, his throws can become a little sloppy from time to time, however he would have time to work on this, and hopefully fix it with NFL coaches.  Straying away from Nix for a mechanical throwing issue on its own could be a fatal mistake, as we saw some organizations do in the 2018 NFL draft.  This proved to be a horrible mistake for those franchises, as Josh had time to work with NFL coaches on his motion in order to best optimize it for high-velocity, deep throws, and now he’s among the best quarterbacks in the league. The Vikings should look into a developmental QB prospect if the right one falls into their lap, and in this situation, I think Nix fits that mold.  

Round 4
The talent has begun to stray a little bit thin at positions the Vikings haven’t already picked up in this scenario.  A few SEC running backs are available, none close to the talent of earlier drafted Bijan Robinson however.  The obvious pick here is Arizona OT, Jordan Morgan, as there is a lack of depth available at either defensive need of CB or LB, and so Morgan becomes the choice by default.  He profiles as a high-ceiling, athletic pass protector, similar to Mekhi Becton coming out of Louisville, but on a lighter scale.  Morgan is 6’6, 328 lbs, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by watching him move on tape.  He is extremely quick, and keeps a naturally low pad level, generally considered beneficial for tackles.  He is almost always able to beat pass rushers to the spot, and was a big reason Wildcats’ QB Jayden de Laura stayed on his feet most of the time this year.  Morgan would fit well as a blindside protector for Kirk, or Bo Nix eventually in this scenario, and could either slide Christian Darrisaw to right tackle, replace Brian O’Neill on the right side, or move either one of them to the interior.  

Draft Synopsis
I think this is a highly ideal draft turnout for the Vikings, considering the circumstances, as they come out with 3 high-ceiling players, who in the win-now situation they’re in, would be greatly beneficial to sustained success down the road.  Drafting heir replacements to positions that seem to be set may be a strategy Skol fans wouldn’t be too keen on, considering the division rival Packers approached the 2020 draft with the same mindset, and received loads of backlash for it.  However, this is an approach that is not singularly the Packers, and we’ve seen multiple win now teams such as the 49ers use in the past.  For these franchises, it has lead to year-over-year sustained success, and occasionally needed a buy-now trade or two to put them over the top.  This could be the Vikings approach considering their fabulous 10-2 start, and would contribute to their future rather than solely focusing on the now.  Of the three prospects taken, Bijan would be the most win-now by far, while giving the Vikings an extra about 7 years of play compared to Dalvin Cook, while allowing Cook to become an expendable trade asset.  I think barring a draft day trade, this would be the best-case scenario draft for the Vikings given the prospects on the board at each selection. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x