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NFL Draft

Vikings’ Top 2022 NFL Draft Need Quickly Becoming Clear

  • The Draft Network
  • October 8, 2021
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The Minnesota Vikings are 1-3 and fading fast in the NFC North, but they have a chance at a get-right game against the winless Detroit Lions on Sunday in a contest that’s already a must-win for Minnesota’s playoff hopes.

Even if the Vikings win, a look ahead at their schedule suggests it’s going to be a long season. They face the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, and Green Bay Packers in a murderer’s row of games from Week 6 through 12. There’s a good chance—a very good chance—that coach Mike Zimmer’s team will be sitting at 2-8 after 10 games.

With that in mind, we might as well peak at what the 2022 NFL Draft could mean for this team, especially with the odds of having a high pick getting better after every loss.

The Draft Network’s Brentley Weissman posted a new 2022 NFL Mock Draft this week that had the Vikings picking 16th—that’ll definitely begin to change soon—and landing a much-needed cornerback in Round 1: Florida’s Kaiir Elam.

“Minnesota’s offense is off to a hot start with quarterback Kirk Cousins having a career year. The defense, however, is still an issue and certainly can improve. One way to improve this unit is by shoring up the team’s secondary which has allowed its fair share of big plays so far in this early season. 
“Corner is a need for this team as former first-round pick Jeff Gladney didn’t work out due to off-the-field trouble. Elam is a player that I am coming around on after being a little skeptical of his overall athleticism and how it would translate at the next level. So far all Elam has done is prove that he is a top-tier coverman with excellent instincts, size, and ball skills to man up on the outside.”

The Vikings signed veteran cornerback and future Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson in the offseason to a one-year deal and the returns have been abysmal. His 58.8 season grade is on par with his final season in Arizona last year, and that wasn’t great either. There’s no chance Peterson returns in 2022, which makes an already struggling unit even less settled moving forward.

As Weissman pointed out, the Vikings already lost Gladney to legal troubles and the starter opposite Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, has actually been worse. Go ahead and circle cornerback as a priority issue—likely the No. 1 priority, in fact—Minnesota will address in both free agency and the draft.

You can check out all 32 picks in Weissman’s mock by clicking here.

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