Vikings 2023 7-round mock draft: Matt Anderson’s 6.0

The NFL Combine is officially over and free agency is just around the corner. The Minnesota Vikings are already making moves by releasing longtime linebacker Eric Kendricks, and rumors are swirling that they’re considering parting ways with star wide receiver Adam Thielen and potentially even running back Dalvin Cook.

In this mock draft, I took an aggressive approach. It’s time to start building the next era of Vikings football and ushering in a new era of dominance on the field!

One note before we start: we will be using Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator and the Rich Hill trade chart for any trades.

Preface on Trades

Determining the appropriate trade value for future draft picks is a challenging task due to the numerous variables that come into play. Factors such as the position being targeted can significantly affect the cost, with quarterbacks usually commanding higher prices.

The cost of moving up in the draft board also depends on the starting point, with a move from a top-10 position costing less than moving up from the twenties.

To provide expert analysis on this, I consulted with my managing editor Tyler Forness, and Fantasy Pros college football and NFL draft analyst Thor Nystrom to gather insights on the best approach for this mock draft as it pertains to trades.

5. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Vikings Receive: 5th Overall (468), 156th Overall (11) =  Total 479
Seahawks Receive: 23rd Overall (245), 119th Overall (24) 2024 1st Round Pick (190), 2024 4th Round Pick (17), 2025 2nd Round Pick (82) = Total 558

Tyler’s Scouting Report

The Vikings go all in here and get their quarterback of the future in C.J. Stroud, while the Seahawks can load up and build around recently re-signed Geno Smith and potentially make a play for a rookie quarterback in next year’s draft class.

While Anthony Richardson is also an enticing option here, Stroud is the safer pick and has all the traits that would flourish in a Kevin O’Connell system.

Stoud displays elite-level arm talent when it comes to power and accuracy while also showing off his ability to make reads quickly. He was given a plethora of weapons to work with at Ohio State, and now he’ll get to pair with arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL Justin Jefferson.

Every move like this is a risk, but now the Vikings can start to build their future around a dynamic quarterback and wide receiver tandem.

87. Syracuse CB Garrett Williams

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings need cornerback help in this draft, but with rumors of Brian Flores wanting Patrick Peterson back and the chance they sign one in free agency, it’s a need that can wait until round three. Especially with how deep the draft class is.

Williams is prime value here, as his talent on the field is that of a first-round pick. Unfortunately for Williams, he tore his ACL towards the end of his 2022 season, which has greatly affected his draft stock.

Williams is the perfect fit for Flores’ defense as he has the ability to play physically and mirror receivers in coverage. He’s a twitchy athlete who can offer assistance in run support while also continuing to make wide receivers’ lives miserable when the ball is in the air. This would be the perfect situation for Williams to develop into a star.

156. Tulane LB Dorian Williams

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As we get into the later rounds, it’s really about taking players who can contribute on special teams and potentially develop. That’s exactly the player Williams is.

Williams is built exactly how you’d expect a linebacker to look. While his speed isn’t lightning fast, he plays with good burst and can close in to make the plays when needed. He displays great tackling ability and could eventually find himself subbing in throughout the season on a similar trajectory to Brian Asaomah if he reaches his potential.

159. Michigan WR Ronnie Bell

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are rumors that the Vikings are going to be moving on from Adam Thielen, which means a wide receiver will become a need. Outside of K.J. Osborn, Jalen Nailor, and Jalen Reagor, there really isn’t much at the wide receiver position. While the Vikings will likely sign a free agent, it’d be smart to draft someone with upside.

Bell is an intriguing prospect who the Vikings could develop. He’s got good speed and is a shifty player who can stop and start on a dime. Bell also has some return ability if the Vikings are done with Reagor returning punts. Overall, as a late pick, you’re hoping for upside, and there is some here.

211. Oklahoma RB Eric Gray

Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Gray is a player that caught my eye at the Senior Bowl as a prospect that could do well in the NFL given the right situation. With rumors surrounding Dalvin Cook and the Vikings potentially going separate ways, this could be the right situation for Gray.

Gray is a running back that has the ability to make you miss in space while also breaking multiple tackles. What stood out to me at the Senior Bowl was his effort in pass-blocking situations but also his burst and pass-catching ability.

The Vikings have Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler under contract should they move on from Cook. Adding Gray would give them a running back who could compete for touches if he has a strong camp.

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Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire