The Vikings, under new General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell, start their first draft together with only three picks in the first four rounds and eight picks overall. But a trade back in the first round could help them accumulate a few more chances to get an impact player. We also included a third-round trade, where the Vikings move back in exchange for an extra pick in what's projected to be a quarterback-heavy 2023 draft. Here's our best guess as to how they'll spend their picks this weekend.
Round 1 is Thursday, starting at 7 p.m., with Rounds 2-3 on Friday (6 p.m.) and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday (11 a.m.). The draft will be televised on Ch. 5, ESPN and NFL Network.
FIRST PICK: Round 1, No. 14
Acquired with No. 76 in exchange for Nos. 12 and 191 in mock trade with Ravens.
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
The Vikings like Derek Stingley Jr., and the LSU corner would seem like the obvious choice if he's available at No. 12. But with Stingley's stock rising, the Vikings use the opportunity to trade down and still pick up McDuffie, above, who'll need to get a little stronger in the NFL but projects as one of the best cover corners in the class.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama. He tore his ACL in the national championship game, but if the Vikings feel good enough about his recovery, they could take him in the first round to play opposite Justin Jefferson. Ohio State's Garrett Wilson could also be worth a look as a shifty slot receiver.
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue. The pass rusher brings pure strength to the first round of the draft; he could play defensive end or linebacker in the NFL, but might start as a 3-4 end with Danielle Hunter lining up at outside linebacker.
SECOND PICK: Round 2, No. 46
Drake Jackson, LB, USC
Jackson, above, just turned 21 last week, and will need some time to develop in the NFL, but he was an effective pass rusher in his final season with the Trojans, and could complement Hunter and Za'Darius Smith in Ed Donatell's defense.
Boye Mafe, LB, Minnesota. The Vikings spent time with Mafe before the draft, and he could interest them as a dynamic edge rusher in Round 2. He's almost three years older than Jackson, though, after staying with the Gophers through his redshirt senior season.
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati. Would the Vikings take a quarterback this high? They met with Ridder at the combine, and there's a case to be made for him, especially if they're not comfortable with Kellen Mond's development or they want another option for the future beyond Kirk Cousins.
THIRD PICK: Round 3, No. 76
Cole Strange, G, UT-Chattanooga
Strange, above left, shines because of his lateral quickness more than his pure strength, and will need to improve his ability to anchor against big defensive tackles in the NFL. The Vikings met with him twice before the draft; he could stay at guard or move to center, in the event the Vikings see him as a possible successor to Garrett Bradbury.
Kellen Diesch, T, Arizona State. He thrived in pass protection in college, and though he might need to get stronger, his athletic ability is in the mold of Brian O'Neill's; he could be a serviceable swing tackle in the NFL.
Kingsley Enagbare, LB, South Carolina: The Vikings would need him to be more consistent in the NFL, but he's another athletic pass rusher who had great production at the college level because of his strong hands.
FOURTH PICK: Round 3, No. 80
Acquired with 2023 fourth-rounder in exchange for No. 77 in mock trade with Texans.
Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
Joseph, above, who met with the Vikings at the combine, showed an ability to create turnovers that could be a key component of Donatell's defense. He had five interceptions last season, and would give the Vikings another deep safety option for coverage packages.
Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada. He met with the Vikings before the draft, after catching 80 passes on 110 targets as Carson Strong's top option last season. Despite being 6-2 and weighing 200 pounds, Doubs will likely need to get more physical in the NFL.
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston. The Vikings had a pre-draft meeting with Jones, who is just 5-8 but thrived on special teams in college and showed a knack for making big plays in coverage. He had five interceptions and 12 pass breakups last year.
FIFTH PICK: Round 5, No. 156
Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor
There's some risk here, given Barnes' tendency to lose his assignment in zone coverage, and Barnes, above, is already 23 years old. But his speed (he ran a 4.23-second 40-yard dash) allows him to recover in coverage, and he's got the size and temperament to grow at the position.
Matt Waletzko, T, North Dakota. The Rocori product is attracting attention before the draft because of his physical traits (a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a 5.03 40). He'll need to work on his lower body in the NFL, but his dimensions could make him worth a look here.
Pierre Strong, RB, South Dakota State: A 4.37 40 time at the combine raised Strong's draft stock, and he has the potential to be a big-play threat in the NFL on plays where he can hit the line of scrimmage with a full head of steam.
SIXTH PICK: Round 6, No. 184
Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Bellinger, above, who is from O'Connell's alma mater, would fit immediately as a pass-catching tight end in an offense that lost Tyler Conklin and is banking on Irv Smith's healthy return. He'll need to improve as a run blocker in the NFL.
Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia. His two interceptions in the Bulldogs' national semifinal win over Michigan highlighted his best trait: his ball skills. The former wide receiver lacks elite speed at corner, but he could thrive in a zone scheme where he can keep his eyes on the quarterback.
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State. Purdy was one of the most accurate passers in college football last year, and showed an ability to elude pressure in the pocket. He won't blow away anyone with his arm strength, and would have to improve his processing skills, but he could give the Vikings another developmental passer.
SEVENTH PICK: Round 6, No. 192
Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA
After looking at wide receivers early in the draft, the Vikings come down with a slot receiver in Phillips, above, who played there almost exclusively in college. He was Chip Kelly's first recruit at UCLA, in Kelly's first job after working with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell in San Francisco. Phillips beat Derek Stingley for a touchdown in 2021 but will have to get better at beating corners off the ball.
Eyioma Uwazurike, DT, Iowa State. He has tremendous length and size for the NFL, and could join the Vikings' defensive tackle rotation with Harrison Phillips, Dalvin Tomlinson and Armon Watts.
Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama. With Alexander Mattison set to hit free agency after the season, the Vikings could look at Robinson if they wanted to add another physical back to the group behind Dalvin Cook.
EIGHTH PICK: Round 7, No. 250
Ty Davis-Price, RB, LSU
Davis-Price, above, could benefit from a year in a room with Cook, Mattison and Kene Nwangwu before possibly playing a bigger role. He has the size to be a physical runner in the NFL, though he'll have to improve his decision-making on runs. The Vikings could have something if running backs coach Curtis Modkins can connect with him.
Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M. He showed potential with the Aggies as a pass rusher who can drop into coverage, though he'd have to cut down on his number of missed tackles if he's going to be successful in the NFL.
Michael Maietti, C, Missouri. Maietti's final season at Missouri was particularly impressive, as he allowed just two sacks while starting every game. He's a little small for the NFL (6-1, 290 pounds), but would fit well with a zone running team where he has the chance to put on some muscle.