What draft grades have the media given to the Minnesota Vikings? What are they saying about the Vikings' 2023 draft haul?
NFL.com - Grade: A-
Ward is a tough-minded safety who can play some nickel for the Vikings, picking him after gaining a 2024 fifth-round pick when trading down. Roy was an excellent value in the fifth as an active interior defender. Hall is a developmental passer but flashed the velocity and accuracy of an NFL starter as often as some other quarterbacks selected before him. McBride went two rounds later than I expected.
ESPN - Grade: B
Minnesota went back to USC for cornerback Mekhi Blackmon (102) in Round 3. I had that one as a little bit of a reach with better corners on the board. I liked defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy (141) in Round 5; he can be solid nose tackle. I don't see NFL starter traits for quarterback Jaren Hall, but he was extremely productive over the past two years. I never mind a Day 3 quarterback selection too much. Running back DeWayne McBride (222) is my favorite selection for Minnesota; he is a top-100 prospect on my board. He averaged 155.7 rushing yards per game last season, and he can break tackles in the open field. He isn't likely to be a third-down back as a rookie, but he's a natural runner once he gets the ball.
This is a small class, but Addison fills a massive need. I'm just curious to see how much Blackmon can play as a rookie, because Minnesota has available snaps for him.
SI - Grade: B
PFF - Grade: B-
Day 2: One of PFF analyst Sam Monson's favorite players in the draft, Blackmon is coming off by far the best season of his college career. On the field for 907 snaps, he produced a 90.6 PFF grade and allowed just 47.6% of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught. He missed only two tackles in 2022.
Day 3: Ward failed to grade above 61.0 in both seasons in which he played 600 or more snaps. His 53.6 coverage grade and 65.9% completion rate allowed don't inspire much confidence, but he does offer some versatility in that he can play outside, in the slot and at safety.
Roy addresses a need as an interior lineman with the strength to hold up at the point of attack, frequently battling with SEC offensive linemen. While he isn't the quickest player off the line, Roy can bull over interior offensive linemen and produced a 10.1% pass-rush win rate in 2022, which is solid on the interior for a 300-pounder.
Hall performed very well in a cozy situation at BYU the past two years. He is an excellent athlete who is undersized with mediocre arm strength. He has the luxury of sitting behind Kirk Cousins, who wins with smarts and moxie. Hall will need to show the same traits against NFL pass rushes if he hopes to succeed long-term.
McBride earned an elite 94.1 grade in 2022 with 4.6 yards after contact per carry, 25 carries of 15-plus yards, which ranked seventh, and 76 missed tackles forced. We haven't seen much receiving from McBride, but it may just be a lack of opportunity. He could be a perfect fit in Minnesota's zone scheme.
Fox Sports - Grade: C+
The biggest indication of head coach Kevin O'Connell's confidence in Kirk Cousins came in the fact that Minnesota waited until pick No. 164 to take quarterback when they selected Jaren Hall out of BYU. Don't overlook the fact that they took LSU cornerback Jay Ward to kick Day 3 off. He gets to reunite with his former coach at LSU, Daronte Jones, who is now on Minnesota's staff. I wouldn't be shocked if they end up getting a starter out of the fourth round.
USA Today - Grade: B
The Ringer - Grade: C+
Sporting News - Grade: B+
Touchdown Wire - Grade: B
I'm not sure how Jaquelin Roy lasted until the fifth round — his tape seemed more like second- or third-round stuff to me — and if UAB running back DeWayne McBride can solve his fumbling issues, his speed and contact balance will win out impressively.
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