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New Vikings CB Akayleb Evans Ready to Learn From Patrick Peterson

CB Akayleb Evans
CB Akayleb Evans

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings continued to add to their secondary in the 2022 NFL Draft by selecting Missouri cornerback Akayleb Evans in the fourth round with the 118th overall pick.

Minnesota took Evans after making a trade. The Vikings received No. 118 while sending a 2022 fifth-round pick (No. 156) and a 2023 fourth-rounder to Cleveland.

It was the fourth overall trade for Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah so far in this draft. Adofo-Mensah made the trade with Browns General Manager Andrew Berry, whom Adofo-Mensah worked under in Cleveland before coming to Minnesota.

View photos of Missouri CB Akayleb Evans who was selected No. 118 overall in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Evans is the third defensive back taken in this draft by the Vikings, joining first-round safety Lewis Cine and second-round cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr.

Much like Booth said Friday, Evans noted that he grew up watching highlights of Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson, a player the newest Viking looked up to.

"When he came out of college, I was like, 'What can't he do?' You know what I mean? He's fast, strong, very technical, good press-man corner," Evans said. "Just being able to see that, I saw myself in that. That was everything to me.

"I dreamed for a long time, 'If I could learn from Pat Pete, that would be amazing.' Here we are today and it's going to be a great opportunity to learn from him and other people," Evans added.

Evans, a redshirt senior from Missouri who transferred from Tulsa, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds on his bio page. His selection gives the Vikings more depth at the cornerback spot.

"I've had to play both [zone and man]," Evans said. "That's one thing I feel about my game that I'm strong on, being versatile and being able to do both.

"That's always been my mindset because you never know where you're going to end up," Evans added. "You want to be a good option for any team, and I feel strong in both."

Vikings national scout Chisom Opara said Evans has the traits that could translate to the NFL.

"I think for all of our guys making the jump from college to the pros, it's going to be a little bit of a learning curve," Opara said. "I think for him, technique, he has the athletic ability to do it.

"He's got the feet and hips that you like at that position, but I think as I said he was asked to play a lot of zone during his college [career], so maybe he'd like some time on task that way," Opara added.

Evans played in 11 games in 2021, recording 30 total tackles (27 solo) with a tackle for loss, one interception, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

He spent the first three seasons of his career at Tulsa, where he played in 30 career games. Evans redshirted in 2019 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury three games into the season.

"I had graduated from Tulsa and was looking to get into sports management," Evans said. "But Tulsa didn't have that. My position coach (Aaron Fletcher) has also left and went to Missouri, so that played a factor.

"And playing in the SEC was another level of competition," Evans added. "All of that factored into my decision."