The 2023 Scouting Combine starts next week, and with that we’ll get the debut of the Minnesota Vikings 2023 Mock Draft Database. . .only 67 days until the 2023 NFL Draft, kids. . .and plenty of discussion about who the purple should take. However, there’s a new mock that I wanted to put out there because it poses an interesting question.
Benjamin Robinson has put together his latest mock for Football Outsiders, and has the Vikings using their first-round selection on a spot that might not immediately jump to mind for some folks: center.
Yes, after the Garrett Bradbury experiment (mostly) failed, Robinson has the Vikings going back to the center well in the first round again with the selection of Wisconsin C Joe Tippmann.
Garret Bradbury is slated to be a free agent and on the way out of Minnesota, and Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann would be a major upgrade at a position group whose performance as a unit is most often impacted by its weakest link. Tippmann is the top center in the class, and he would fit seamlessly into an offensive line room that includes cornerstones at tackle, promise at guard, and now a top talent at center.
I know that a lot of the focus on the Vikings’ draft needs for this year will center around the defensive side of the ball, and with good reason. . .the defense was awful at just about every level last season. But the offensive line, specifically the interior, had its struggles again in 2022. The tackle situation has been figured out and, as Robinson points out, the guard spots at least have some promise, but the center position is still a big question mark.
The Vikings have invested a lot of draft capital, and selecting a center in the first round would give them two first-rounders and three second-rounders across the offensive front. It might help bring the seemingly never-ending offensive line rebuild this team has been doing for about a decade to its completion.
Should the Vikings be addressing the center position that early in the draft, folks?