Vikings' Top 2022 NFL Draft TargetsApril 27, 2022
Vikings' Top 2022 NFL Draft Targets
The Minnesota Vikings have a clear primary requirement going into the first round of the 2022 NFL draft: They need to add a cornerback to a depth chart that features Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler and Chandon Sullivan.
And the team would love to have one of the top two prospects at the position fall into its lap with the No. 12 overall pick.
The Vikings must have contingency plans in place in case the LSU product is not available, though. They could remain focused on the secondary and land another prospect, or they may try to fill a vacancy elsewhere and bide their time on a cornerback.
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
It would be unfair to say Minnesota is in Stingley-or-bust mode at No. 12.
A number of factors could go against the Vikings in their pursuit of the LSU prospect, including a trade in front of them to land him or an early run on cornerbacks.
Minnesota may be concerned if Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner winds up with the Houston Texans at No. 3, as that would make Stingley the best CB prospect on the board for eight picks ahead of the Vikings.
Peter King of NBC Sports pointed out why the Tigers star and the Vikings are an ideal partnership:
"There are good fits, and there is Stingley in Minnesota, where he'd be coached by his old defensive coordinator at LSU, secondary coach Daronte Jones, and he'd be mentored by former Tiger corner Patrick Peterson. This is a dream scenario for the Vikings. Stingley's career fell off a cliff after a strong 2019 season, the same way the LSU program fell off a cliff in the last two years of Ed Orgeron. In '19, Stingley battled in practice with Ja'Marr Chase and played high-level in games; some scouts thought he was the best corner in the country as a true freshman."
The Vikings have brought back Patrick Peterson, but they could use more competition with Cameron Dantzler opposite the long-time NFL player.
Minnesota's overall depth is scarce behind those two, but Stingley could play alongside them as he works his way into the NFL.
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Washington may have the most underappreciated positional conveyor belt to the NFL.
The Pac-12 program has a long list of draftees in the secondary, from Budda Baker to Taylor Rapp to Marcus Peters.
The Huskies have had 10 defensive backs selected in the NFL draft since 2013, and Trent McDuffie is set to add an 11th name to that list in the first round.
The 21-year-old will most likely be the third cornerback off the board on Thursday and could be in play for the Vikings at No. 12.
If Stingley is chosen before Minnesota is on the clock, McDuffie should have its full focus instead and that, in turn, that could worry the Baltimore Ravens at No. 14.
There is also the chance Minnesota is turned off by Stingley's injury history and pays more attention to McDuffie's status on Thursday night. Nothing is set in stone until NFL commissioner Roger Goodell steps to the podium with the pick inside a sealed envelope.
Jordan Reid of ESPN.com broke down the strengths McDuffie has despite standing under six foot tall.
"He is an intense run defender and isn't afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage and strike ball carriers," he wrote. "He played primarily zone coverage with the Huskies but has potential as a man corner because of his quick feet, patient technique and strong instincts."
McDuffie could make the same impact as Stingley on the Minnesota defense, and he could be even better since he has had more time to develop his game on the field in college.
The Westminster, California native may be viewed as a consolation prize due to so much attention being on Stingley, but McDuffie could garner a similar draft grade because the Vikings need to fill the position.
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
One of the biggest run-stoppers to come out of the college game in a while would be a nice alternative to a defensive back.
Sure, Minnesota would love to have Stingley or McDuffie at No. 12, but Jordan Davis is an intriguing prospect for its defense.
The Vikings could use an extra run-stopper in a division that features Aaron Jones, D'Andre Swift and David Montgomery.
Davis was a massive force in the middle of a Georgia defense on its way to winning the national championship.
The 22-year-old was projected to go at No. 17 by Todd McShay of ESPN.com in a recent mock draft, so taking him at No. 12 would not be a huge stretch.
Minnesota could place Davis next to Dalvin Tomlinson on the interior in what may become a menacing frontline.
The Vikings would still need to address the defensive back in the latter rounds, but there is always a possibility they use a package of their seven remaining picks to move back into the first round or to the top of the second.