The 2022 regular season is 85 days away, and most onlookers of the Minnesota Vikings are optimistic about the team’s outlook with a new general manager and head coach.
The Vikings finished 15-18 (.454) in 2020 and 2021, leading to the dismissal of Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell took over, embarking on a youthful mission peppered with offense-first thinking.
Upon arrival, Adofo-Mensah re-signed Kirk Cousins for an extra year, keeping him as the team’s QB1 through the end of the 2023 season. He also signed impact defensive free agents Za’Darius Smith (Packers), Harrison Phillips (Bills), and Jordan Hicks (Cardinals). Then, Adofo-Mensah put together an impressive draft class of 10 rookies.
But it was the way Adofo-Mensah plucked those 10 men from the draft that some considered questionable. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report authored an analysis on Wednesday about every team’s biggest regret this offseason. For the Vikings, Knox maintains the Vikings will rue trading with the Detriot Lions in Round 1.
Knox said about the Vikings trade with the Lions, “Not only did they trade down 20 spots in the first round, but they did it to help out the division-rival Lions. Detroit moved up to No. 12 and took former Alabama receiver, Jameson Williams. To move up from No. 32 to No. 12, the Lions only surrendered the 34th and 65th picks and even got the 46th pick as part of the deal. That wasn’t a tremendous return for Minnesota.”
Overall, the efficacy of Adofo-Mensah’s deal comes down to Williams. If he becomes a gigantic star in the league, the Vikings will be chided — by everybody — for gift-wrapping the Alabama alumnus to the Lions. But if Williams flames out, nobody will care or remember the trade. The WR spot is an extremely visible position on the football field, so how Williams performs is truly the judgment factor of the transaction.
Through direct compensation with the Lions, via trade of the 12th overall pick, the Vikings added Lewis Cine (S), Andrew Booth (CB), Ed Ingram (OL), and Brian Asamoah (LB). The Lions landed Williams (WR) and Josh Paschal (EDGE). Ergo, if you care more about folks in the deal not named Williams, monitoring the careers of Cine, Booth, Ingram, Asamoah, and Paschal is the sensible thing to do.
For better or worse, the Vikings will get to play Williams and Paschal at least twice per year. And the same gig applies to the Lions for Cine, Booth, Ingram, and Asamoah. Although, Lions fans aren’t like to focus on anyone other than Williams from the draft-night trade.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).