The 2023 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching, with the highly anticipated event set to take place beginning on Apr. 27. In other words, it is high time to check out who the best prospects teams can go after in this three-day event. With that being said, here are some of the potential additions the Minnesota Vikings can select in each round of the draft.
Minnesota Vikings: 2023 NFL Mock Draft
1st round 23rd overall pick: S Brian Branch
The Vikings’ defense, particularly against the pass, definitely views the 2023 NFL Draft as a great avenue to address its needs. In the 2022 NFL regular season, the Vikings had one of the most awful pass defenses in the NFL, ranking second-worst in the entire league with 266.9 passing yards allowed per game and just 25th with opponents completing 66.26 percent of their passes.
Those numbers scream help, and selecting Branch out of the Alabama Crimson Tide program could fortify that leaky stop unit, especially downfield. Although one can argue that the Vikings need to prioritize the cornerback slot over the safety position, Branch can come across as a can’t-miss prospect at the No. 23 position for a team that knows it has to provide upgrades in the secondary room.
In three years in Tuscaloosa, Branch collected three interceptions, 4.0 sacks, and 19.5 tackles for loss. He’s got good height at 6-0 and should become a bigger, scarier presence downfield if he adds a little bit more muscle to his 190-pound frame.
3rd round 87th overall pick: DT, Kobie Turner
Turner isn’t making turning plenty of heads among casual football fans ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, but he could become a solution to the needs of the Vikings in the defensive tackle position. Minnesota made a move in the offseason that brought in Dean Lowry, but the Vikings still lost Dalvin Tomlinson, who’s now a member of the Cleveland Browns.
With Turner, Minnesota will have a defensive tackle with a seemingly solid floor and high ceiling.
Turner played college football initially at Richmond (FCS) before transferring to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with whom he recorded 2.0 sacks and a total of 10 tackles for loss across 13 appearances. In four years with Richmond, though, he collected 158 total tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and four forced fumbles. He proved that he could compete in the much more challenging environment of NCAA football, as further evidenced by his selection to the Second-Team All-ACC by the AP and Third-Team All-ACC .
4th round 119th overall pick: WR, Jayden Reed
The Vikings’ release of beloved wide receiver Adam Thielen in the offseason was tough to see for Minnesota fans. At the same time, it signaled an opportunity for Minnesota to find a younger replacement via the NFL Draft.
Michigan State Spartans product Jayden Reed could be that guy for the Vikings, who can find value in selecting him in the fourth round. Reed isn’t going to be a superstar right out of the gate nor should immediately become Minnesota’s Adam Thielen 2.0, but there’s his potential to be a fantastic complementary piece in a pass-heavy Vikings attack alongside the likes of wide receiver Justin Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Reed started his college football career with Western Michigan where he had 797 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman before transferring to Michigan State. In three seasons in Spartans uniform, Reed amassed 2,069 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns on 147 receptions.
5th round 158th overall pick: CB, Kei’Trel Clark
The Vikings will have to select at least one cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Louisville Cardinals CB Kei’Trel Clark appears to be a nice target in the fifth round for Minnesota. Clark has already gotten looks from other teams in the offseason, a good sign for his potential to make an impact in the NFL.
Clark originally played college football for the Liberty Flames before transferring to Louisville for his final three years in the NCAA. During his stint with the Cardinals, Clark recorded five interceptions and 9.5 tackles for loss. He doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of physicality, but he’s someone that’s very ripe for the pros after seeing action for a total of 2,450 snaps in college.
6th round 211th overall pick: WR, Jake Bobo
Adding a high-upside wide receiver for their last pick in the 2023 NFL Draft seems like an ideal move for the Vikings. At 6-5, 215, Bobo possesses the physical attributes of a wideout who transform into a legitimate problem for opposing problems down the road.
Bobo played his first four years in college with the Duke Blue Devils before spending his final year of eligibility with the UCLA Bruins. With UCLA, Bobo registered 817 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 57 receptions. He had two 100-yard games in 2022, including one against the Washington Huskies in which he torched them for 142 receiving yards and two touchdowns on just six catches.