After the NFL Draft, it’s fun to talk about who won and lost the draft. With the 2022 NFL Draft, many around the league are talking about how the Giants, Jets, Ravens, and Chiefs were some of the early winner and rightfully so. Every one of those teams had solid drafts and have made their rosters better than before the draft started. However, there is one team that also had a strong draft that isn’t being talked about nearly enough and that is the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings started the draft with the 12th overall pick but decided to make a rare in division trade with the Detroit Lions to move back and gain extra draft picks. They moved way back to the 32nd overall pick and selected safety Lewis Cine from the championship winning Georgia defense. The move to trade back that far was a little questionable but the team clearly felt like whoever they could have drafted at 12, wasn’t worth the pick. Getting Cine was a home run to start this new era of Vikings football. The versatility of Cine is what likely made him an attractive draft pick for Minnesota, and he could potentially push for a starting job next season.
In the early second round, the team took cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., who was projected for much of the draft season to be a first-round pick. Booth has all the skills to be a strong starter in this league as he is versatile and can play in man or zone looks for the Vikings. He has major playmaker instincts and flies in on ball carriers. He also has an explosiveness to his game that will surely translate over to the NFL. This was by far one of the steals of the entire NFL Draft. Within the first two rounds, the Vikings addressed some of their weaknesses in the secondary.
Their third-round pick of Ed Ingram was also nice as it gives them another body to use upfront in the trenches. He does have some serious off the field baggage that will likely follow him throughout his career. It was an interesting pick, but the Vikings obviously felt that they did their research, and he should be good going forward, or we can hope otherwise scrutiny will be coming their way. Linebacker Brian Asamoah, cornerback Akayleb Evans, and edge rusher Esezi Otomewo were their next three picks. All project to contribute to the team and will be viewed as more of depth pieces to round out the team.
In the fifth round, the team selected running back Ty Chandler out of North Carolina and this is one of the picks that really helps round out this draft class. Chandler is extremely quick and is a smooth pass catcher out of the backfield, something that the Vikings like to utilize. He can play the complimentary role with starter Dalvin Cook and be apart of the running back committee. Additionally, running back Alexander Mattison is in the final year of his rookie contract this season so Chandler could be a nice backup option if Mattison leaves in free agency.
Another pick that went underrated was the selection of Michigan State receiver Jalen Nailor. This kid has speed and speed kills in the NFL. He averaged almost 17 yards per catch during his time with the Spartans and even took carries out of the backfield for 162 yards and a score over his career. He is explosive at the point of catch and will easily help this Vikings team stretch the field. He covers a ton of ground with his long strides and has the ability to get up the field quickly on-screen plays. Having him on the field should help the likes of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
To round out their draft, they took South Carolina tight end, Nick Muse. He is probably more of a blocking tight end but there is still value in that. Overall, the Vikings did a really nice job attacking this draft class and their roster will be much better because of it. It’s a new era in Minnesota and one that could have a bright future.