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2022 NFL mock draft: Minnesota Vikings select Trent McDuffie

For the third time in five years, the Vikings take a cornerback in the first round.

Washington v Michigan Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have the highest pick in the draft among the NFC North teams and the team that comes next in the draft order is the Minnesota Vikings, who currently own the 12th pick in the draft.

The Vikings hit the reset button hard this offseason, making changes at both general manager and head coach. The one thing they did not change, however, is their quarterback. Kirk Cousins actually got another extension, ensuring that he’ll play at least two more seasons in Minnesota.

But before the Vikings’ new GM has an opportunity to fix this team that hasn’t made a Super Bowl since 1976, we’re giving POD commenter cadwesh the keys to the franchise. Here’s a look at the board cadwesh is facing.

POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
  2. Detroit Lions: Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
  3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
  4. New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
  5. New York Giants: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
  6. Carolina Panthers: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
  7. New York Giants: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
  8. Atlanta Falcons: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
  9. Seattle Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
  10. New York Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
  11. Washington Commanders: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

With the 12th pick in the POD Community Mock, the Minnesota Vikings select Trent McDuffie, cornerback out of Washington.

Here’s cadwesh with the explanation:

I tried to make this pick in keeping with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s comments about a “competitive rebuild” – building for the future while bringing in players to compete right now. The Vikings’ biggest needs are:

  • CB - Even though Patrick Peterson just re-signed, he’s better served moving to safety or being a rotational CB at this point of his career. This leaves Cameron Dantzler as the only real starter they have at the position.
  • LB - While Eric Kendricks brings Pro Bowl play to the Vikings’ LB corps, the rest of the position group is thin with Nick Vigil departing and Anthony Barr still unsigned.
  • C - Vikings fans are not impressed with their interior offensive line. Though their young guards seem to be improving, Garrett Bradbury – the 2019 first-round center from NC State – can safely be called a bust.

I narrowed my selection down the best players at these positions: McDuffie, Devin Lloyd (LB, Utah), and Tyler Linderbaum (C, Iowa). In this LB class, the drop-off from top talent to second-tier doesn’t seem terribly steep, so a starting LB can likely be had at pick 46 or 77. That left me torn between McDuffie and Linderbaum. McDuffie is a plug-and-play starter at a high-value position. Linderbaum is regarded as one of the best center prospects in years. They’re both slightly under ideal size, but also excellent technical players.

The deciding factor was need. In 2021, the Vikings had a top-15 offense and a bottom-10 defense. What’s more, their passing defense allowed both the most receptions and most yards to the WR position in the NFL. They desperately need CBs.

McDuffie immediately upgrades the Vikings’ defense. Though just average size, he plays big and aggressive. He’s versatile in coverage, which will allow them to deploy him all over the secondary as needed. He’s fast, fearless, and competitive. As a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect, he’s a safe bet for Adofo-Mensah’s first pick as Vikings GM.

Erik’s thoughts:

I think cadwesh made the smart choice here as this projection is a nice blend of value meeting need, and McDuffie is certainly talented enough to warrant a selection at this spot. I also agree that Patrick Peterson is not the answer at corner and this is a team that could use a cover corner opposite Cameron Dantzler.

Linderbaum was also on my mind here, but 12 seems a bit rich for a center, even if he is the best center prospect since Frank Ragnow.

A sleeper pick for this spot would be Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson. The Vikings have invested in starters Daniel Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, but Hunter is only signed through 2023, and Smith’s contract gets excessive in 2024, with an easy out on 2023. Meaning Johnson could be a high-value rotation option—which would be a lethal trio—and eventual starter down the road.

You can follow along with every pick + grades in our Community Mock Draft tracker.

Poll

What grade do you give the pick?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    A
    (137 votes)
  • 40%
    B
    (199 votes)
  • 26%
    C
    (129 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (21 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (10 votes)
496 votes total Vote Now