Vikings 2023 Draft Gets No Respect! Deservedly or Unfair?

There are some surprisingly nasty draft grades on the Vikings 2023 draft out there. Some, like rating the Vikings' draft #32 out of 32, are shocking.

I always look closely at our drafts. I'm a diehard draftnik. But I looked even closer than usual to try to understand, from the outside, if there is some credence to dissing the Vikings' draft.

A few premises are critical to agree upon.

1. It is important to fill needs. Everyone loves to talk up BPA but no team actually does it other than occasional outlier exceptions. If you need a pass rusher and never take one and don't need a safety but take two because they were, by God, the best players available at those picks -- you just failed the draft.

2. Some positions are more valuable and some positions are less valuable. A team taking a future pro bowl QB or even a pro bowl OT or WR or CB, is light years better off than a team taking a pro bowl OG or LB.

3. You can't just say whoever has the most picks or the highest picks had the best draft. That is out of a team's control. It rewards poor performance on the field. To evaluate a draft fairly one MUST take into account trades, future picks given up or gained, and draft position. Did they draft well in Round 1 based on picking 5th overall? Did they draft well in Round 1 based on picking 28th overall....

Without the above elements in consideration, any draft analysis goes off the rails and isn't worth much if anything and is likely to be counterproductive. It is likely to construct a false narrative.

Such as... the Vikings had a terrible 2023 draft.

The rating can be dismissed almost immediately. You know it is mistaken because it says the Eagles, Colts, Texans, and Seahawks get A grades. You'll note that 3 of those teams had two 1st round picks and the 4th had a top 4 pick. So you see that the writer ignores Premise #3 above. It destroys the objectivity and credibility of his draft analysis. It is powerfully tilted to whoever drafts higher and has more picks. It looks at bulk results without considering actual circumstance.

The Texans are a good example. They had the #2 pick. Stroud might be the 2nd best QB. Or maybe he's the 4th. But to get the #2 QB at #2 is... average. At best. Not special. Then they traded away a king's ransom, lost in pick points big time, really got quite fleeced, to trade up from #12 to #3 to take Anderson. Anderson picked at #3 is roughly an average value pick. It is no bragging rights at all, nor would someone taking him at #3 be considered a brainiac. But giving up two first rounders, one at #12 and the other quite likely Top 10 next year, + a 3rd and a 2nd round pick, the 2nd being almost a 1st rounder this year... well, it was just plain foolish. They could have stuck at #12 and gotten Van Ness as an example and then still had the other 1st, the high 2nd, and the 3rd. They sold out 2024, their future, to pad how their current draft appears.

The Texans did not win the draft or perform at an A level. Based on their starting position, they did poorly in the extreme.

The Eagles? Nolan Smith was a steal. Jalen Carter was not. He went where he was expected to go based on personality issues and poor conditioning. By the way, he did not exactly stack up stats at Georgia. There are reasons for that, yes, but, to put it in perspective, Leonard Davis had equivalent stats and much better personality and athletic profiles than him and Davis went middle of Round 1 last year. Put another way, the Eagles drafted a player at 9th overall that some teams completely removed from their draft boards!

Back to the Vikings draft. One more point to make when grading. The first round pick is important! Gee, really? If you look at the point value on trade charts, with the same pick position in each round, the 1st round pick has more value than all the other picks combined. It does depend on spot but it works out to about 55 to 60 percent of a team's total draft value. In other words, if you ace the Rd 1 pick, you can't do too bad on the draft and, if you fall flat in Rd 1, you'll have a hard time doing well overall. I'm talking about before a down is played. Obviously, if you get a Hall of Famer in Round 6 (Tom Brady) then you had an incredible draft even if all the other picks never did a thing.

How did the Vikings do in Round 1?

They filled a big need. Check.

They drafted a power position, a high value position. Check.

Jordan Addison was taken at #23 and was on the big board, an average of what various draft resources think, at #24. Good value. He was the 4th WR taken. PFF "experts" had him rated, depending on the guy, as the #2 WR overall or the #1 WR overall.

The Addison pick was good or great value at a high value position at a position of need. That is hardly the definition of failure. It is actually the definition of draft success.

Addison certainly seems best positioned to succeed early among the Round One receivers and is rightfully a top early contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year. At 23rd overall. Again, this is looking like a success.

The PFF guys were moaning and groaning about the Vikings draft as follows:

* They laughed, or scoffed, that the Vikings did not have a pick after Round One... until Round Three.

Why is that funny? Why is that ridiculous? It is true of several teams but they did not scoff at the Ravens for it. What did we get for our Round Two pick? A pro bowler! TJ Hockenson. Any draft in which you get a pro bowler is a success. You could argue the Hockenson trade alone made the Vikings draft a success.

* They also said: "It seems they would have been better served to trade back." "They didn't get it done."

Ridiculous. In their own opinion, the Vikings got the #1 WR at #23 and as the 4th WR taken. Trading down would have lost us Addison. The Saints and Chiefs tried to trade up with us and we said no. That is not failing to get it done. That is making a wise choice. One of those teams wanted Addison. I assume the Chiefs. Had the Chiefs traded up with us and gotten Addison, these guys would have fallen over themselves commending them for "going and getting their guy." And likely would have condemned the Vikings for trading back like that and giving up Addison!

Had we traded back, let's say we pick up a 3rd. But then what WR would we have taken at #31 (keeping with same posiition to maintain positional value and for comparison)? Jonathan Mingo. Would you want Mingo and a 3rd, or Addison? The Vikings chose correctly. BTW, had we moved back to #31 and taken Mingo, the "draft experts" would have crucified the Vikings.

* The PFF gusy kept harping on this: "I'm a little surprised the Vikings only picked six times." "They drafted players that I like but the process of only picking six times is not good to me." "They only picked six times. That's not ideal. That's not great process."

This is stupid talk. No other way to see it. They yap about "process" in an effort to sound expert but it is stupidity at work and obvious if you bother to think about it. Six picks is only ONE less pick than normal! The missing pick went to acquire a pro bowl TE! Is that "not great process"? One less pick is not a dearth of picks. It is a use of picks. We also acquired an extra 5th round pick next year.

It is telling and noteworthy that the very next team they went in depth on for their draft was the Ravens. Guess what? They also had six picks and did not have a 2nd round pick. Was there any talk about "only picking six times" or "not great process?" Nope. Nada. None. It is only not great process if the Vikings do it. By the way, the Ravens, in their admitted view, took a lesser receiver than Addison, BEFORE Addison... and they gave the Ravens a higher draft grade than the Vikings! Another writer at, not the guy above but a different one, ranked the Vikings draft as #28 and the Ravens draft at #19. I would never swap our picks for the Ravens and I bet most GMs wouldn't.

The PFF guys used Arif Hasan's big board against the Vikings to point out supposed draft experts, on average, had Mekhi Blackmon at #185 in value and the Vikings took him at #102. That is fair and is a big difference. But, guess what? Almost all teams have picks like that. The teams know more. Medical, interviews, investigations to name some reasons for differential in NFL versus public perception.

Let's use that same Big Board and look at all the picks in total:

Jordan Addison taken #23, #24 on BB. Minus 1

Mekhi Blackmon taken #102, #185 on BB. Minus 83

Jay Ward taken #134, #179 on BB. Minus 45

Jaquelin Roy taken #142, #116 on BB. Plus 24

Jarren Hall taken #164, #168 on BB. Minus 4

DeWayne McBride taken #222, #139 on BB. Plus 83

(PFF, as they should, noted that UDFA count as part of a team's draft class)

Andre Carter II, UDFA (#260 value if he was the first 8th round player), #101 on BB. Plus 159

Ivan Pace, UDFA (#260 value if he was the first 8th round player), #153 on BB. Plus 107

Overall, the Vikings net was +240 spots. Incredible!

We filled needs, we got value, we used high picks on positions of high positional value.

END CONCLUSION: The Vikings had a great draft and did as much as anyone could expect based on their draft position.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.