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Grading the Vikings’ 2023 NFL Draft

Here’s a look at Minnesota’s full 2023 NFL Draft class. We break down the best picks and what kind of impact to expect.

2023 NFL Draft - Portraits
Jordan Addison poses for a portrait after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd overall pick during the first round of the NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings had a disappointing end to the 2022 season after a strong start and some tremendous luck in one-score games, setting them up to potentially make big changes through the 2023 NFL Draft. Here’s a look at Minnesota’s selections, and how they could make an impact for the team in 2023.

Vikings picks

Round 1: No. 23: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Round 3: No. 102 — Mekhi Blackmon, CB, USC
Round 4: No. 134 (from Lions) — Jay Ward, S, LSU
Round 5: No. 141 (from Raiders through Vikings) — Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU
Round 5: No. 164 — Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
Round 6: No. 211 — DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB

Grade: C+

Maybe this grade is a bit harsh for Minnesota, since the Vikings did address the second receiver position by taking Addison. Using a fifth-round pick on a project quarterback is not the way to push Kirk Cousins, who remains a concern when the games start mattering more. The Vikings largely stayed put with their roster, which might have been disappointing for fans to see.

Did Vikings fill needs?

From a position standpoint, the Vikings did fill needs. They added a receiver, two pieces in the secondary and a running back in the event they move Dalvin Cook. The talent level of those players, outside of Addison, remains to be seen. Ward has experience against top competition but got burned several times in big moments. The USC secondary was a dumpster fire last year, so Blackmon’s evaluation is a bit clouded due to that reputation.

Fantasy prospects?

Addison is the obvious choice here, as he’s likely to start opposite Justin Jefferson in this offense. Jefferson remains the top target for Cousins, so Addison is set to have some potentially favorable matchups. He’s going to take some time to get up to speed, but he’s a sleeper fantasy candidate as a rookie.

Best pick?

The best pick is Addison, mostly because he’s the only one who could make an immediate impact for a team looking to contend. Blackmon and Ward, as mentioned above, are suspect in certain moments and Hall isn’t going to take first-team snaps.