How Far Can Vikings Ride Kirk Cousins And Who Will Minnesota Draft?

How Far Can Vikings Ride Kirk Cousins And Who Will Minnesota Draft?
By Marcus Mosher
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

It’s a new regime in Minnesota as the Vikings have moved on from general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer. Now in charge is Kewsi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell. However, Kirk Cousins will return as the team’s quarterback for at least the 2022 season and likely beyond. So how do Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell turn this team into a contender in the NFC? That’s what they have to figure out.

The Vikings weren't overly active in the free-agent period, but they are in a great spot going into the 2022 NFL Draft. Here are all of their picks and their biggest draft needs:

Minnesota Vikings 2022 NFL Draft Picks

  • Round 1 (No. 12)
  • Round 2: (No. 46)
  • Round 3 (No. 77)
  • Round 5 (No. 156)
  • Round 6 (No. 184)
  • Round 6 (No. 192)
  • Round 6 (No. 209)
  • Round 7 (No. 233)

Minnesota Vikings Biggest Needs in 2022 NFL Draft

  • EDGE Rusher
  • Cornerback
  • Tight End

The biggest hole the Vikings have on their roster is at defensive end. It remains to be seen what the team does with Danielle Hunter, but they need to add some talent even if he returns. Luckily, the first and second round of the 2022 NFL Draft is loaded with pass-rush help. A player like David Ojabo (Michigan) or Travon Walker (Georgia) would both make sense at No. 12, should they be available.

But if the Vikings want to wait until Day 2 of the draft to address their EDGE need, Boye Mafe from the Minnesota Golden Gophers would make a lot of sense at No. 46 as a high-level athlete. He doesn't have the production you would like from a potential first-round pick, but his athleticism is hard to find. So keep an eye on the local kid, as he would make a ton of sense in coordinator Ed Donatell’s defense.

Another position the Vikings could target in Round 1 is cornerback. The Vikings have drafted four cornerbacks in Round 1 since 2013 but have not had great success. But they could get an elite prospect in Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (Cincinnati) at No. 12, should he be there. Another option is Derek Stingley (LSU), who might have been a top-5 pick at this time last year. Either would be a great fit in Minnesota's defense.

With Tyler Conklin leaving for the Jets in free agency, the Vikings need to add another tight end. Irv Smith Jr. is expected to return to the field after missing the entire 2021 season. Look for the Vikings to target a tight end sometime on Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft. Keep an eye on someone like Greg Dulcich (UCLA), as he could play inline or in the slot for the Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl 57 Odds

As you would expect, in current NFL betting odds, the Vikings have relatively low Super Bowl hopes, sitting at +4000.

Those are just the 20th best odds to win Super Bowl 57 at DraftKings Sportsbook despite the Vikings having a better-than-average quarterback. The biggest reason for the lower odds is that while Cousins is a good player, he's not good enough to elevate the team around him and the overall roster isn't good enough to carry him either.

What also hurts the Vikings is that they are in a division with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have won this division for three straight years and with Aaron Rodgers returning for the 2022 season, it's tough to envision the Vikings winning it this year. That means their route to the Super Bowl would likely require them to win three straight road games, and that's not something the roster or Cousins are ready to do.

The Packers are -190 to win the NFC North, while the Vikings are at +300 – there are no Minnesota sports betting options yet but neighboring Iowa has an active mobile wagering market. Assuming Rodgers stays healthy, it's just hard to see Minnesota winning the division, much less a Super Bowl. But with a solid grade and a few smart free-agent pickups, the Vikings could be legit contenders in the NFC sooner rather than later.

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Contributors

Marcus Mosher is a betting analyst covering the NFL, NFL Draft and NFL news for MinnesotaBets.com. The host of the Locked On Cowboys podcast, Marcus also has been the managing editor of The Raiders Wire and contributor to The Athletic DFW, Pro Football Weekly, FanSided and FanRag Sports.

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