Notre Dame Vs California
Obviously, we are still early in both the college football and NFL season. However, teams absolutely are already eying prospects for next spring’s draft based on their roster needs. Here are a few of the top potential draft prospects for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2023 class.
CB Clark Phillips III (Utah)
The Minnesota Vikings have a decent CB group in 2022, but they need to find someone to eventually replace Patrick Peterson as well as a slot player in place of Chandon Sullivan. Clark Phillips III is someone who projects as a slot corner at the NFL level, given his smaller stature at 5’10 and 191 pounds.
The thing that makes Phillips intriguing more than other prospects at this position is his ball hawking ability. As a former receiver, he has the hands of a player that will force many turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. Think about how Trevon Diggs has acclimated to the NFL level, and Clark Phillips could have a very similar impact.
LB Henry To’o To’o (Alabama)
With both Jordan Hicks and Eric Kendricks as starters, and Brian Asamoah under their wing, the Vikings have a talented group at the linebacker position right now. That said, at some point the Vikings will have to replace that talent.
The Chazz Surratt experiment ended after one season, and other than that, there are no prospects that look like immediate contributors behind Asamoah.
Henry To’o To’o could be a solution with his versatile skillset in all facets: pass coverage, pass rush, and run defense. In 2021, the Alabama linebacker produced 111 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, and 4 sacks. To’o To’o has the potential to be a new version of Eric Kendricks at the NFL level.
TE Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
An early development in the Vikings season has been Irv Smith’ struggles at the tight end position. On multiple occasions early in the season, Smith has dropped passes that seem like he should have caught. In a contract season, and light depth behind him in Ben Ellefson and Johnny Mundt, the Vikings may opt to look for a tight end at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One of the better options at this point looks to be Michael Mayer out of Notre Dame. He is a wide-framed player with a tenacious mindset as a blocker, but his soft hands make him an adept receiver as well. Rather than paying Smith a lucrative contract this offseason, Minnesota may opt to look at a player like Mayer in this upcoming draft.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken