Vikings Make Exciting First Round Pick in Mel Kiper's First 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Larry Rupp
Mel Kiper's first 2022 NFL mock draft reveals the Minnesota Vikings projected first round pick.
Mel Kiper's first 2022 NFL mock draft reveals the Minnesota Vikings projected first round pick. / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings stumbled to a 8-9 record and could not figure out how to stop opposing offenses from marching down the field. The front office enters the offseason with tough decisions to make and Mel Kiper projects the team to address the defense in his first 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

Vikings Mock Draft

Kiper has Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner being selected when the Vikings are on the clock with the 12th overall pick. It's a safe pick given the team's lack of secondary depth. Veteran Patrick Peterson is about to hit free agency and Cameron Dantzler struggled to improve in 2021.

Minnesota gave up the fifth-most passing yards per game in the NFL (252.9) and were torn apart by opposing quarterbacks on a weekly basis. It's worthy to point out that the Vikings have taken a first round cornerback four times since 2013. However, none of them are on the roster anymore.

Gardner may be a different breed, though. There's an argument to be made that he could be the best cornerback prospect in this class. His size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and unheralded ability to completely erase opposing receivers should allow him to make a smooth transition into the NFL.

The star Bearcat finished the 2021 college football season with 40 tackles (5.0 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 3 interceptions and 4 pass breakups. Simply put, he was all over the field. Gardner was targeted just 31 times as the closest defender in coverage and gave up 8 receptions for 60 yards.

Keep an eye on Minnesota when the NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 28.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.