The Minnesota Vikings have a new regime in town with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah taking over as general manager from Rick Speilman. In addition to Speilman, the team also moved on from head coach Mike Zimmer, replacing him with Kevin O’Connell.
The offense has emerged in recent seasons with Kirk Cousins under center with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen at wide receiver. Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the NFL, which has led to an explosive offensive group. Unfortunately, the defense has been unable to get the job done.
Their biggest goal coming into the offseason was to begin reshaping this defense. There are some excellent pieces in place, such as Danielle Hunter and Harrison Smith, but this is a unit that has struggled overall.
Adding another vaunted pass rusher in Za’Darius Smith will certainly help get the defense on track as he can bookend Hunter. But, the secondary is what needs a lot of work in Minnesota.
Last season, the secondary was torched, giving up the third-most yards on the outside and registering the third-fewest plays on the ball at the position. Mackensie Alexander finished with the lowest ranking for a slot cornerback, while Bashaud Breeland was a big reason for the struggles on the perimeter.
With limited resources, the Vikings weren’t able to make major changes to the secondary in free agency. But, the 2022 NFL Draft presents another opportunity for them to do so. Over at Bookies.com, they believe that is the direction that the organization will go in.
According to their odds, Derek Stingley Jr. is the most likely selection for Minnesota with the 12th overall pick. Stingley got to LSU with a lot of fanfare as one of the best cornerback prospects in football in recent years.
Injuries have limited him to only 10 games the last two seasons, but there is no denying the skill that Stingley possesses. He has legit No. 1, shutdown corner skills and that is something the Vikings could certainly use.
Stingley’s odds of +275 just beat out Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner of Cincinnati, who is lined at +350. Gardner, however, should be lower on the list as he is rumored to possibly be selected as high as No. 4, so there is a slim chance he is on the board when the Vikings are on the clock.
A little further down the list is another cornerback, Andrew Booth Jr., of Clemson. He is the last player listed at +800 ahead of The Field at +1000. Two edge players in Jermaine Johnson Jr. out of Florida State and George Karlaftis of Purdue are also lined at +450 and +550 respectively.
Knowing there are questions on the interior of the offensive line as well, Tyler Lindenbaum, the highest-rated center in this year’s draft class, has odds of +450 to go No. 12 overall.