The countdown to the 2023 NFL Draft continues.
In just over a week, mock drafts and speculation will come to an end as the actual draft kicks off.
Multiple positions have been talked about as possibilities for the Vikings if they hang onto the 23rd overall selection, including cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback.
Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune recently looked at four wide receiver prospects – including one he deemed a "sleeper" – that Minnesota could keep its eyes on. He wrote:
Krammer called the Vikings need at receiver "moderate" heading into the draft.
The Vikings — who currently have only five draft picks, starting with the 23rdoverall in the first round — need depth. Having an all-around superstar like Jefferson means just about any type of player can become a complement. A speedy target like Oklahoma's Marvin Mims, Jr., could widen coverage zones, while a big-bodied target like Cedric Tillman of Tennessee could win solo matchups under Jefferson's shadow. Currently, Jefferson (via an expected fifth-year option) and Jalen Nailor are the only Vikings receivers under contract in 2024. They also control the 2024 rights of receivers Trishton Jackson and Blake Proehl. But they need more.
In looking at this year's draft class, Krammer noted Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba, USC's Jordan Addison and TCU's Quentin Johnston as "names to know." He then spotlighted a possible sleeper pick in Tillman, who was limited to six games last season due to an ankle surgery.
But the 6-foot-3, 213-pound Tillman had 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns the last time he played a full season. He could be well suited for matchups against bigger NFL corners. Tillman's dominant 2021 included a 200-yard game against eventual national champion Georgia.
Click here to see Krammer's evaluation of all four wideouts.
PFF highlights Day 3 OL prospect for Vikings
It's fair to say most of the hype revolves around Round 1 of the NFL Draft, but every year teams unearth hidden gems in the later rounds.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus looked beyond opening night and even Rounds 2-3 on Friday, focusing instead on Day 3 options for each of the 32 teams. PFF's Michael Renner wrote:
While NFL franchises are built on Days 1 and 2 of the draft, depth is formed on Day 3. This area of the draft is even more crucial now with 18-week seasons since well-run franchises are able to survive injury waves better with the depth they find here.
Renner highlighted an offensive line prospect for Minnesota in Penn State center Juice Scruggs.
Scruggs is an athletic center who would fit into the Vikings scheme with ease. He impressed in pass protection at the Shrine Bowl, where he finished with the highest pass-blocking grade in attendance.
Renner also looked to an offensive lineman as an apt fit for Green Bay on Day 3, pointing out Old Dominion tackle Nick Saldiveri.
The Packers love nothing more than drafting athletic offensive tackles with guard versatility. It's been their MO for years. Saldiveri is one of the best such tackles in that mold; he just needs to get a little stronger.
The Lions, who this spring acquired former Bears running back David Montgomery, could look at adding another running back on Day 3, Renner said. He suggested Texas RB Roschon Johnson as a good fit considering the departure of Jamaal Williams.
"The Texas back broke tackles at a higher rate than anyone in the country last season," Renner wrote.
Renner said Wake Forest defensive tackle Kobie Turner could fit in well in Chicago.
The Bears still desperately need a 3-technique yet may not be in a good position to draft one earlier. Turner was the second highest-graded Power Five defensive tackle this past season but will likely fall due to his smallish frame at 6-foot-2 and 288 pounds.