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ESPN Analytics tries to project Vikings’ first round pick

What are they saying?

ESPN The Party - Inside Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN

To a lot of people, yours truly included, the world of analytics is still a bit of a mystery. I’m not completely sure of everything that’s involved with some of the processes but it’s a different way of processing data that can, potentially, provide a unique perspective. The folks from ESPN are attempting to use an analytic process to project who the Minnesota Vikings (and the other teams that we don’t care as much about) could potentially do in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, and it sort of lines up a bit with our own Mock Draft Database.

The ESPN Sports Analytics site is breaking down each pick in the first round from two different perspectives: the chance of a player being taken at a specific pick and the odds that a player will be there at a specific pick. In the case of the Vikings at pick #23, they have a handful of players that we’ve gotten familiar with over the past couple of months that are likely targets for the team at that spot.

The top player on their list is, surprisingly, Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, who has an 11% chance of being selected by the Vikings at #23. According to their analysis, Hooker has a slightly better than 70% chance of being available at #23, so it seems like there would be ample opportunity to make that selection if the Vikings so desired.

After Hooker, there are a handful of other players from our Mock Draft Database that could be available at #23. Here are some of them, along with the likelihood that they’ll be available according to ESPN.

  • CB Deonte Banks, Maryland: 8% chance of being taken at #23, ~70%+ chance of being available
  • WR Jordan Addison, Southern Cal: 8% chance of being taken at #23, ~70%+ chance of being available
  • WR Zay Flowers, Boston College: 7% chance of being taken at #23, ~50% chance of being available
  • DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh: 6% chance of being taken at #23, ~50% chance of being available
  • WR Quentin Johnston, Texas Christian: 6% chance of being taken at #23, ~70% chance of being available

There’s been a lot of steam building behind the “Hendon Hooker to Minnesota” train over the past couple of weeks, and the other players listed have all been heavily connected to the Vikings by the Really Smart Football People™ that put together Mock Drafts. We’re just a couple of weeks away from finding out who the pick will be for the Vikings at #23. . .if they make a pick at that spot at all (I think they trade back). Then we’ll be able to figure out just how solid these projections are.