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Lunchbreak: ESPN's McShay Tabs Booth as Vikings 'Best Pick' in 2022 Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Vikings added 10 players to their roster over the seven-round frenzy.

Minnesota traded down, moved up and took an even split of five offensive players and five on defense in a three-day span.

In the aftermath of 262 total selections across the league, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay singled out the best pick for each team, but added a caveat for his reasoning.

McShay wrote:

To be clear, "best pick" does not necessarily mean "best player." Team needs, the value a player presented in comparison to my board, scheme fit and any trades related to the pick all factor in here. In all, 86 of my top 100 prospects were drafted in the first 100 picks, so plenty of teams landed really good players. But the "when" and "why" of each pick factors in here, too. In other words, each team's top-ranked or earliest selection doesn't automatically translate to their best selection.

With that in mind, McShay went with Andrew Booth, Jr., as his choice for Minnesota. The Clemson cornerback was the pick at No. 42 overall after the Vikings traded down to open the second round and moved back up to get him.

View college action photos of every Vikings pick from the 2022 NFL Draft.

McShay wrote:

The Vikings traded back in the first round and took Georgia safety Lewis Cine to close out Day 1. Good pick. But the team's first selection of Day 2 was the one that really caught my eye. I thought Booth might be a first-rounder, and I put him at No. 27 on my board. The Vikings managed to land him 10 picks into Round 2. And man, did they need someone like him at cornerback. Patrick Peterson will be 32 years old when the season starts and is starting to show signs of his age. The depth at the position was weak, too.

Booth is a top-end press-man corner, but he's scheme-versatile and can play in off-man or zone looks. He has playmaker instincts and ball skills, and he's a willing run defender who flies in on ball carriers. Booth is explosive and has a fluid transition out of his pedal. I love his game.

Booth played in 11 games in 2021, recording 37 total tackles (26 solo) with three tackles for loss, three interceptions and five passes defended.

View photos from Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft from inside the Thomson Reuters Vikings Draft Room, of first round draft pick Lewis Cine and in Las Vegas.

Booth's selection marks the first time the Vikings have drafted a defensive back in the second round since 2016, when Minnesota took Mackensie Alexander, who also played at Clemson.

While the cornerback was the pick for McShay, the draft expert also gave some consideration to the Vikings second pick in the fifth-round, too.

I have to mention my guy Ty Chandler, though. I really wanted to make him Minnesota's best pick. The UNC running back has 4.38 speed and makes cuts without gearing down. And he's a smooth pass-catcher out of the backfield. I think he could end up the best value pick at running back in the 2022 class.

McShay went with a wide receiver for the other three NFC North teams, choosing Jameson Williams (Lions), Christian Watson (Packers) and Velus Jones, Jr., (Bears).

It's worth noting, of course, that the Vikings traded back with the Lions before Detroit took Williams in the first round at No. 12 overall.

The Vikings then moved back in a deal with the Packers before Green Bay picked Watson at the top of the second round with the 34th pick.

McShay's best pick for each team can be found here.

Goessling highlights remaining questions for Vikings

The Vikings roster is set at 90 players following the addition of the 10 draft picks and nine undrafted free agents over the weekend.

But while the roster is set, which questions remain for Minnesota?

Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune highlighted a handful of them, beginning with question of whether or not the Vikings cornerbacks group can hold up.

View photos of the Vikings 2022 undrafted free agents the team has agreed to terms with.

He wrote:

The Vikings used three picks in the first four rounds on defensive backs, taking Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth in the second round and [Missouri] corner Akayleb Evans in the fourth. They could need contributions from at least one of the rookies, given the other questions in their cornerbacks group.

Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan figure to take two of the three spots when the Vikings are in nickel, but even in that scenario, the team is counting on Cameron Dantzler to become a full-time starter or a player like Kris Boyd or Harrison Hand to improve.

Otherwise, they will have to lean on one of their two rookies. Booth could get the first crack at the job, but he will have to prove he can stay healthy; on Friday, he said he hadn't played injury-free since high school.

Besides covering opposing teams' passing attacks, getting to opposing quarterbacks is equally important. And Goessling's next question centered around Minnesota's depth at pass rusher.

He wrote:

New Coach Kevin O'Connell is excited about the combination of Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith. As dangerous a duo as the Vikings could have in the two pass rushers, though, Smith and Hunter played a combined [eight] games last year. It was somewhat surprising the Vikings didn't add a pass-rushing linebacker in the draft — though they did guarantee University of Miami edge rusher Zach McCloud $250,000 as an undrafted free agent.

A player like D.J. Wonnum could need to show he can pressure the quarterback more consistently in Year 3. The Vikings are counting heavily on their two outside linebackers; they might have to manufacture pressure if either Smith or Hunter gets hurt.

Goessling also wondered about Minnesota's right guard competition and how the Vikings defensive line shakes out, but finished his piece with a question centered about the most important position on the field.

Does this draft mean Kirk Cousins is here through 2023?

Goessling wrote:

Not necessarily. Next year's draft is projected, at least at this point, to have a better crop of quarterbacks than the 2022 draft, which had only one passer (Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett) taken in the first round.

But the fact the Vikings didn't pursue a passer like Liberty's Malik Willis on Day 2 would suggest Cousins is in line to play out his contract unless one of two things happens: Kellen Mond is enough of a revelation in 2022 that the Vikings feel comfortable asking Cousins to waive his no-trade clause, or the Vikings feel compelled to draft and start a rookie QB in 2023.

The Vikings could try to deal Cousins next year (provided he waives his no-trade clause) and get a bridge quarterback in 2023, but unless Mond shows major improvement in whatever playing time he gets this year, there's no obvious succession plan in place.

Cousins turns 34 in August; he has talked about wanting to play well enough to finish his career in Minnesota, and it might take a sharp turn of events for him not to be the QB through at least his age-35 season.

Goessling's full list can be found here.