It’s no secret that the Minnesota Vikings need serious help on the defensive side of the ball, particularly on the backend of a unit that gave up the third-most total yards on average in the entire NFL. So ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. didn’t complicate things when making the No. 12 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft in his second mock draft of the year.
He selected Derek Stingley Jr., cornerback for the LSU Tigers.
“This is the position Minnesota needs most, and Stingley could be worth it,” wrote Kiper. “Stingley needs to show NFL teams that he can get back to the way he played in 2019, when he had six picks as a true freshman on LSU’s national title team.”
The Vikings have clearly missed at the cornerback position over the last few years.
Make no mistake, all of the physical traits are there for a possible star corner in the league, but we really haven’t seen much of him since his incredible freshman season. Injuries, illness and a shortened 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 have all factored in.
It doesn’t help matters that he’s still healing up from a foot injury sustained in his final college season that’ll keep him out of the NFL Combine.
In Kiper’s last mock draft, he had the Vikings taking Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner with the No. 12 overall pick. However, this time around, the supremely talented defensive back out of Cincinnati was projected to be taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 8 pick.
It’s best that Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah doesn’t overthink things and just go with the best player available. As Kiper correctly points out, that player could be Stingley if another team grabs Gardner early.