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6 Takeaways from Vikings 2023 NFL Draft

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings completed their efforts in the 2023 NFL Draft by adding a total of four players on Saturday.

The quartet — LSU defensive back Jay Ward and defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy, BYU quarterback Jaren Hall and UAB running back DeWayne McBride — joined first-round pick, USC receiver Jordan Addison (picked at No. 23 on Thursday), and his one-year college teammate, cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, who was tabbed with the final pick of the third round on Friday night.

The six-player draft class, the fewest selections made by Minnesota in a draft since five in 2009 (same number as 2008), will be joined by a 15-player group of undrafted free agents that the Vikings announced had agreed to terms on Saturday.

Those incoming players will be scheduled to attend a rookie minicamp in two weeks.

View college action photos of every Vikings pick from the 2023 NFL Draft.

Here are six takeaways from the Vikings 2023 NFL Draft.

1. Immediate impact in Round 1

The Vikings entered the draft on the heels of some significant departures through salary cap-forced cuts and free agents signing elsewhere.

This included the release of Adam Thielen, who rose from undrafted to folk hero to franchise leaderboard status over the course of a decade.

Minnesota earlier in the week exercised its fifth-year option on Justin Jefferson, which will have the phenom under contract through 2024 as the team works on a long-term deal. The Vikings also like what fellow 2020 draft pick K.J. Osborn has done in the past two seasons as his opportunities have increased.

But, Minnesota also frequently utilized three receivers in 2022 under Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

Entering the draft with only five selections meant the Vikings did not have a ton of capital to move up the board on Thursday night, but it turned out they didn't need to in order to select Addison, who appears pro ready after putting up prolific numbers at Pittsburgh (2020-21) and at USC (2022).

View portrait shots of Vikings WR Jordan Addison who was selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

2. Patience tested on Day 2 — and rewarded on Day 3

Minnesota did not have a second-round selection because that pick had been traded in the fall to Detroit in order to acquire T.J. Hockenson.

The former Lions tight end did his best to support the Wild on Friday in their playoff game, but it was to no avail.

Minnesota was first scheduled to go on the clock in the third round at No. 87 but opted to trade down from that selection to No. 102, where it selected Blackmon.

The agreement to move down was accompanied by the acquisition of picks 164 (used on Hall) and 222 (used on McBride).

3. Versatility was prioritized on defense

The Vikings wound up selecting three offensive players and three defensive players.

The latter trio of Blackmon, Ward and Roy show an indication of what new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores is seeking from players as he implements multiple looks in his defensive system.

4. Didn't mind double double-dip

There have been previous drafts in which two players have hailed from the same school.

In 2016, Minnesota tabbed Mackensie Alexander and Jayron Kearse from the same Clemson secondary. A similar instance occurred in 2020 when former Mississippi State defensive backs Cameron Dantzler, Sr., and Brian Cole II were selected in the same draft.

And in 2021, the Vikings tabbed Pat Jones II and Jaylen Twyman from the same Panthers defensive front.

In all three cases, however, there were several picks between the former college teammates.

This year, Minnesota double dipped on consecutive picks from USC with the selections of Addison and Blackmon, who faced each other numerous times at Trojans practices and are looking forward to the reunion.

On Saturday, Minnesota did it again, opting for a Tigers tandem that had been part of a defense coordinated by Vikings defensive backs coach Daronte Jones in 2021. Jones spent that one season at LSU between his 2020 and 2022 seasons in his current role.

That background offered more information on Ward and Roy.

View photos from inside the Thomson Reuters Vikings Draft Room during the 2023 NFL Draft.

5. The Vikings got a QB but didn't overreach

Numerous mock drafts had the Vikings opting for a QB with the 23rd overall pick — some even had Minnesota mortgaging quite a bit to vault up the board on Thursday.

But Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson were tabbed with three of the first four picks.

Will Levis (selected 33rd overall by the Titans) and Hendon Hooker (68th by the Lions) were other names that had circulated through "Mock Draft SZN," despite Kirk Cousins being under contract for at least one more season.

Minnesota again leaned on patience and was able to select Hall at 164 — some 98 spots below where the Vikings had taken a run at Kellen Mond in 2021.

The Vikings ultimately decided last year that Mond wasn't going to be in the team's long-term plans.

Now they can evaluate Hall, who made a great impression during his formal interview at the combine, as he joins a quarterbacks room with Cousins and veteran backup Nick Mullens.

6. Minnesota was targeted with its trades

Some years have had so many draft-day trades that we've barely been able to post details before a pick involved in one deal has made its way into another transaction.

View photos WR Jordan Addison being selected as the Vikings 2023 first round draft pick in Kansas City.

This year, however, Minnesota did far fewer gymnastics routines on the draft board.

Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was able to expand his overall selections from five to seven with the trade down on Friday night.

He traded down again to start Saturday's activity, and that deal kept Minnesota in the fourth round and garnered a 2024 fifth-round selection from the Chiefs.

The Vikings then were in position to move up the board in the fifth round to select Roy at No. 141 at the cost of No. 158 and No. 211.