3 sleeper prospects for Vikings to target in 2023 NFL Draft

Perhaps the Minnesota Vikings will still make some changes in the offseason of 2023. Keep in mind that they do have a few openings on their roster. Of course, they can do so through the draft, particularly with certain players who aren’t currently on anyone’s radar. Here we’ll look at the three sleeper rookie prospects for the Minnesota Vikings to target in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell are focusing on youth and moving away from the “run it back” mentality of last season. In fact, the team has already released some expensive veterans. These include linebacker Eric Kendricks, wide receiver Adam Thielen, and cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. In addition to this, the Vikings need to become salary cap compliant.

There are several positions of need for the team heading into next season. Of course, this still depends on which players remain or leave during the remainder of the offseason. The Vikings require a replacement for Kendricks in the middle linebacker position and a No. 2 wide receiver to complement Justin Jefferson. The new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores, has brought in a 3-4 defensive scheme that relies on man coverage. Consequently, the Vikings need more cornerbacks that pair well with Flores’ scheme. The Vikings hope to acquire a few of those through the draft.

And speaking of the draft, as of now, the Vikings have four selections, with a projected fifth compensatory pick. Of course, Adofo-Mensah has also stated that there are ways to create more picks if the team wanted to.

Let’s look at three sleeper draft prospects for the Vikings in 2023.

1. Jadakis Bonds

Jadakis Bonds was the primary receiver for Hampton football last season, as shown by his high usage rate of 29.0 percent. Bonds displayed superior athleticism and football skills compared to his competition last year. Additionally, Hampton utilized him on both sides of the field and in multiple positions, showcasing his versatile abilities. Bonds also had an 80.6 receiving grade in 2022 due to his 863 yards on 51 receptions and 10 touchdowns.

As a freshman in 2019, Bonds only played in two games, but he made an impressive 18 receptions for 235 yards. He also had five touchdowns and a great 133.5 rating when targeted. In his sophomore year, Bonds played in nine games. He tallied 54 catches for 777 yards, six touchdowns, and a 113.0 QB rating when targeted. During his junior season, he played in 10 games and had 45 receptions for 722 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s an extremely underrated but potentially impactful receiver for the Vikings to keep tabs on.

Jadakis Bonds gets his 4th TD of the season as Hampton leads Norfolk early. pic.twitter.com/GUnTWDqp4b

— Andscape (@andscape) September 17, 2022

2. Dewayne McBride

The Vikings might be in need of more depth at running back for the 2023 season. While they could rely on Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler, the opportunity to add someone like DeWayne McBride to their roster may be too good to pass up. This is especially if he is still available in the third round.

At UAB last season, McBride was highly impressive with a remarkable average of 7.4 yards per rushing attempt. He also totaled 1,713 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He also performed well in 2021 with 1,371 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. However, McBride’s receiving skills from the backfield need improvement as he only had five catches in the past two seasons. Still, with proper coaching, he can develop in this area. McBride could be a bona fide diamond in the rough for Minnesota.

1. Tyler Scott

Wideout Tyler Scott is considered one of the most overlooked receivers in the current draft class. Although his abilities are similar to those of Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, Scott has not received the same opportunities to consistently showcase his skills in a vertical role. Recall that Hyatt is being projected in some first-round mock drafts. We feel like Scott deserves the same hype, too. Scott’s athleticism is comparable to Hyatt’s. Scott also reportedly had impressive results in Cincinnati’s testing last offseason.

Despite receiving numerous offers from Power Five programs such as Michigan State, Nebraska, Syracuse, Iowa State, and Indiana, Scott chose to play college football at Cincinnati. In 2021, he had a reasonably productive season as the team’s secondary receiver. Meanwhile, Alec Pierce was the primary target. In 2022, Scott had his most productive season, leading Cincinnati in receptions, yards, and touchdown catches.

Scott has the makings of an excellent No. 2 receiver in the NFL. His ability to win at all levels of the field, produce after the catch, and produce offensive space with his vertical ability are huge advantages for his NFL offense. He could shock a lot of people this coming season, and he could do so as a Viking.

The post 3 sleeper prospects for Vikings to target in 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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