Minnesota Vikings Pre Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draft

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings head into the offseason with a new head coach and general manager. While the Vikings have eight picks in total, they don’t have their fourth-round pick. It belongs to the New York Jets as part of the Chris Herndon trade from August. However, Minnesota will have three selections in the sixth round. With several starters on defense set to hit the open market in a few weeks, the Vikings will need to find starters in the middle rounds. Let’s look at how the Vikings could attack the 2022 NFL Draft.

To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.

Round 1, Pick 12: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU

Minnesota has invested multiple draft picks in the cornerback position over the past few years. However, they haven’t been able to find a lockdown No. 1 cornerback. Last year they signed Patrick Peterson to fill that role. While he had a productive year, Peterson will be 32 years old in July and is an upcoming free agent. While he hasn’t played much the past two years because of injuries, Stingley was unbelievable as a freshman in 2019. Stingley had six interceptions and 15 passes defended for LSU as a freshman. While he comes with injury concerns, Stingley is one of the best cornerbacks in the draft.

For more on Stingley, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 2, Pick 46: Jaquan Brisker, SAF, Penn State

Last offseason, the Vikings lost Anthony Harris as he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Minnesota signed Xavier Woods on a one-year deal to replace Harris. Not only was Woods a solid replacement, but he also went on to have a career year. However, Woods will hit the open market soon and likely won’t be back with the team. Even if he returns, the Vikings lack depth at the safety position. Also, Harrison Smith is 33 years old and won’t be around forever. In his final year at Penn State, Brisker had a career-high 63 tackles to go along with five passes defended and two interceptions. Whether as a starter or the top reserve, Brisker will have a role next season.

For more on Brisker, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 3, Pick 77: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati

Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen have been staples of the defense for the past several years. However, Griffen is a free agent, and Hunter could get traded in a salary cap-saving move. Even if both return, the Vikings need some youth and depth at defensive end. Last season, D.J. Wonnum was the only Viking to record more than six sacks. Meanwhile, Sanders played a critical role in Cincinnati’s outstanding defense last season. Over his past two years at Cincinnati, Sanders had 18 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, and 10 passes defended. He doesn’t have the tools needed to become a top-tier pass rusher. However, Sanders would make an excellent No. 2 option opposite of Hunter.

Round 5, Pick 155: Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor

While Eric Kendricks is one of the best linebackers in the NFL, his two running mates, Anthony Barr and Nick Vigil, are upcoming free agents. Given the Vikings cap situation, both could end up playing elsewhere in 2022. While Minnesota did use a third-round pick last year on Chazz Surratt, they need another potential starting linebacker. Bernard is undersized, but more importantly, he excels in space. He is explosive when he locals the ball and provides flexibility in coverage. In his final year at Baylor, Bernard finished fifth in the Big 12 with 103 tackles. He also had a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2021. Even as a mid-round pick, Bernard has starting potential as a rookie.

For more on Bernard, check out our scouting report on him.

Round 6, Pick 182: Josh Thompson, CB, Texas

Even after using their first-round pick on Stingley, the Vikings need to add another cornerback. Not only will the Vikings likely lose Peterson, but Mackensie Alexander is also an upcoming free agent. Furthermore, Kris Boyd is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Meanwhile, Thompson had a solid career at Texas, playing meaningful snaps since his freshman season. He scored his only career touchdown last season on a pick-six. Furthermore, Thompson is an excellent run support cornerback and can make tackles in space. His physicality also gives him the potential to play some snaps at safety.

Round 6, Pick 190: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson

A few years ago, Ross projected as a potential top-50 pick. However, he missed the 2020 season with a spine injury. At the time, some thought Ross would never play again. Thankfully, he returned to Clemson for the 2021 season. Unfortunately, he had the worst year of his career without Trevor Lawrence. Ross had only 46 catches for 514 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2021, all career-lows as the entire Clemson offense struggled. Assuming the health scares are behind him, Ross has the physical size and ball skills needed to develop into a No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL. Even with the injury concerns, Minnesota can’t pass up Ross’ potential upside at this point in the draft.

Round 6, Pick 206: Chris Paul, iOL, Tulsa

The Vikings have done a good job investing in the offensive line the past few years. They have used either a first or second-round pick on the offensive line in each of the past four drafts. While the starting five seems intact for next season, the Vikings could improve their depth. Paul was a four-year starter for Tulsa. He started two years at guard and two at tackle. While many believe he is best suited to play guard in the NFL, Paul could kick out to tackle in a pinch. The Vikings have done well fixing their offensive line the past few years. Adding an experienced and versatile player like Paul in the later rounds is a smart move.

Round 7, Pick 229: Marquan McCall, DL, Kentucky

Minnesota signed Michael Pierce to a three-year deal worth $27 million two years ago. However, Pierce opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19. He then missed nine games last season because of an elbow injury. In the eight games he played, Pierce totaled only 20 total tackles and three sacks. More importantly, Minnesota can save $6.5 million by releasing Pierce this offseason. If Minnesota releases Pierce, they will need another big body upfront. At over 350 lbs, McCall could fill those nose tackle role on early downs. He is a space-eater and will demand a double team in most situations. McCall fills a void for the Vikings without costing premium draft capital.

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
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Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

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