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Minnesota Vikings 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Vikings 2022 draft

The 2022 NFL Draft begins on April 28, which means that The Game Haus will be debuting draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2022 NFL Draft targets. The Minnesota Vikings are the subject of today’s 2022 NFL Draft profile.

Summary

The Minnesota Vikings went 8-9 in 2021, which was good enough for second in the NFC North, but not good enough to make the playoffs. They did not participate in the postseason for the second straight year. This led to the team firing their general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer. In Zimmer’s place is recent Super Bowl champion Kevin O’Connor, who was Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator.

Despite their below .500 record, the team had six Pro Bowlers and an All-Pro Second Team receiver in Justin Jefferson. With a new coach comes new expectations, so here is a look at what the Vikings can do in the draft to return to the playoffs.

2022 NFL Picks

Minnesota will have three picks to use in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

First Round (one pick): No. 12

Second Round (one pick): No. 46

Third Round (two picks): No. 77

Team needs

Defensive backs- The Vikings need help on the back end of the defense, both at cornerback and safety. This is a very deep draft in those areas, especially at corner. They need to focus on stacking defensive back youth and depth in 2022.

Pass rusher- Signing Za’Darius Smith from the Packers helps, but Minnesota needs people to get after the quarterback. This could be at linebacker, defensive line, or another true edge rusher. If this team wants to grab a playoff spot, that needs to be an area of interest.

Quarterback- Quarterback Kirk Cousins was signed once again, and is still a good-enough talent. But they may need to start planning for the future here, or maybe settle for a competent backup.

2022 Draft Targets

First Round:

Pick No. 12: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

It is highly likely that the top two corners in the draft (Gardner and Stingley, Jr.) will be gone by this point in the draft. If they aren’t, then the Vikings will obviously jump on them. However, a more realistic pick at number 12 is Trent McDuffie.

In 2021, McDuffie had 35 total tackles, 25 of them solo. He also collected six passes defended a sack last year. His best year came in 2019, when he had 45 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and an interception. He has a lot of upside, and can become a true cover corner in the NFL in quick fashion.

Second Round:

Pick No. 46: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M

Leal’s 8.5 sacks in 2021 were tied for 36th in all of college football. He also had 58 total tackles, 27 solo and 31 assisted. He’s forced a fumble in back-to-back seasons, and even has an interception as a 300-pound defensive lineman.

Leal fits a team need, but there are other options here, such as Desmond Ridder, the quarterback out of Cincinnati. They could also grab someone like Daxton Reed, a combination cornerback/safety out of Michigan, who could be especially valuable for a team trying to rebuild their secondary.

Third Round:

Pick No. 77: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

Again, the Vikings may want to pick their secondary talent early, given there is lots of pass rushing talent to gamble on later in the draft, particularly at the edge rusher position. But Jalen Pitre is an interesting pick if they pass on a combination defensive back earlier in the draft.

Pitre can play safety or corner, but is listed at safety due to his ability to get after the quarterback in an effective way. A five-year player at Baylor, Pitre had four interceptions, six sacks and 135 tackles in the past two seasons. One of his picks in 2020 went for a touchdown as well. He clearly has multiple skill sets that Minnesota can take advantage of.

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