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Minnesota Vikings 7-round 2023 mock draft coming out of first week of free agency

Minnesota has five picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. We’ll look to spin those into gold while filling needed positions in this mock draft.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Vikings went 13-4 and won the NFC North in head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season. So everything’s zen in the Twin Cities, right? Far from it. Despite those 13 wins, Minnesota had one of the worst defenses in the league, which was the main culprit in the Vikings’ devastating playoff loss to the New York Giants.

Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was promptly fired after the season. Former Miami Dolphins head coach, Brian Flores, was brought in to lead the defense. DL Marcus Davenport and CB Byron Murphy are some new faces to help him on that side of the ball.

Meanwhile, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Patrick Peterson, and CB Cameron Dantzler have moved on to other teams. WR Adam Thielen has departed while impact players like RB Alexander Mattison and C Garrett Bradbury have re-signed with the Vikes.

While Minnesota already filled some holes in free agency, the purple and gold will need to turn to the draft for some other key positions.

Significant free agency additions

  • CB Byron Murphy
  • DL Marcus Davenport
  • C Garrett Bradbury (re-signed)

Significant free agency losses

  • WR Adam Thielen
  • DL Dalvin Tomlinson
  • LB Eric Kendricks
  • CB Patrick Peterson
  • CB Cameron Dantzler

Vikings 7-round mock draft

I used Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator to put together a seven-round mock draft for the Vikings. Minnesota does not have a second-round and seventh-round pick in this year’s draft due to trades in the past. If you recall, one of those trades helped acquire TE T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions in the middle of last season.

When using the mock draft simulator, I usually picked from the top of PFN’s best available player list while keeping an eye out for needed positions. That leads in nicely to the first-round selection: LB Trenton Simpson of Clemson, who would replace Kendricks at inside linebacker. The Vikings also need help in the secondary, which explains the second-round choice of DJ Turner (CB - Michigan) at No. 87 overall. Plus, having a guy with 4.26 speed never hurt.

The Vikings have a pair of strong EDGE rushers on the roster in Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. However, Hunter is entering a contract year and Smith is now 31 years old. Nick Hampton of Appalachian State was drafted as a potential answer to the future questions surrounding what to do with the position.

Receiver Michael Wilson feels like a really solid pick at No. 158. The Stanford product looked great in the Senior Bowl, and he would help a receiver room looking to replace Thielen. From here, we used a sixth-round pick on QB Aidan O’Connell of Purdue. Incumbent QB Kirk Cousins is in a contract year, so it seemed fitting to take a lottery ticket in the form of a signal-caller here.

23. LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
87. CB DJ Turner, Michigan
119. EDGE Nick Hampton, Appalachian State
158. WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
211. QB Aidan O’Connell, Purdue