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    Vikings NFL draft grades roundup: From above average to underwhelmed

    The Vikings emerged with six picks from the 2023 NFL draft, and while analysts liked the upside of a few players, especially first round selection Jordan Addison, the overall feeling was that the small number of selections largely from the later rounds didn’t impress much.

    The Vikings 2023 draft picks

    Jordan Addison, WR, Southern California (Round 1, No. 23)

    Mekhi Blackmon, CB, Southern California (Round 3, No. 102)

    Jay Ward, DB, Louisiana State (Round 4, No. 134)

    Jaquelin Roy, DT, Louisiana State (Round 5, No. 141)

    Jaren Hall, QB, BYU (Round 5, No. 164)

    DeWayne McBride, RB, Alabama-Birmingham (Round 7, No. 222)

    ESPN (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. … 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.

    Sports Illustrated (B): To start the draft, the Vikings passed on adding a future replacement for Kirk Cousins and found help for Justin Jefferson. Addison has the speed to be a downfield threat, but he can also help in the intermediate game because of his smooth route running. Addison has the skillset to punish teams that decide to double Jefferson. Blackmon is a competitive cornerback, and one who pushed Addison during USC practices. After a disastrous season defending the pass, Minnesota suddenly has an intriguing secondary with Blackmon, Ward and free-agent addition Byron Murphy Jr. Later in the draft, Minnesota found Hall to be Cousins’s backup, and maybe as a potential replacement.

    Pro Football Focus (B-): 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.

    CBS Sports (C-): After Addison, I didn’t love their draft. I do like fifth-round defensive tackle Jacquelin Roy from LSU. He has talent and he’s strong. Seventh-round running back DeWayne McBride was on my Better-Than team, so I like him. He does have some health issues and he doesn’t catch the football.

    USA Today (B): Different kind of player, but first-round WR Jordan Addison should make hay as he steps into departed Adam Thielen’s role opposite Jefferson. And, remember, the Round 2 choice was used last year to get TE T.J. Hockenson. The Vikes’ most interesting picks might be fifth-round QB Jaren Hall and seventh-round RB DeWayne McBride given the uncertain futures of Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, respectively. Also, admittedly rooting for undrafted free agent OLB Andre Carter II, who played at West Point.

    Fox Sports (C+): Considering the Vikings came into the draft with just five total picks, this was never going to be a splashy draft. Through some maneuvering, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah ended up making six total selections, but only one of those came in the top 100. The Vikings did add a dynamic playmaker in USC wide receiver Jordan Addison at No. 23 overall to complete a wideout trifecta with Justin Jefferson and KJ Osborn. They have the benefit of T.J. Hockenson in the receiving game, as well.

    The Ringer (C+): The Vikings selection of USC receiver Jordan Addison was one of my favorite player-team fits of the first round. The former Biletnikoff Award winner is the perfect complement to Justin Jefferson, and gives Kirk Cousins another reliable separator in high-leverage situations. … The Vikings added some solid depth players late on day two and throughout on day three. LSU defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy should be a rotational contributor early in his career and I’m very intrigued to see if former BYU quarterback Jaren Hall can secure the job as the team’s backup over Nick Mullens. Hall is undersized but he throws a nice deep ball and offers some mobility to make plays out of structure—and he could be a perfect developmental project behind Cousins. Overall, a down-the-fairway draft for Minnesota after their excellent Addison pick. (A-): Blackmon’s competitiveness and sticky coverage met a crucial need. 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.

    SB Nation (C+): Maybe this grade is a bit harsh for Minnesota, since the Vikings did address the second receiver position by taking Addison. Using a fifth-round pick on a project quarterback is not the way to push Kirk Cousins, who remains a concern when the games start mattering more. The Vikings largely stayed put with their roster, which might have been disappointing for fans to see.

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