5 non-QB draft prospects the Vikings should monitor for 2023
By Dean Jones
Arik Gilbert – WR/TE (Georgia)
Big things are once again expected of Irv Smith Jr. next season. The Vikings were dealt a blow when the talented tight end went down with yet another injury last year and after letting Tyler Conklin leave in free agency, the former Alabama star will be counted on more than ever this time around.
Smith could thrive under the offensive mind of head coach Kevin O’Connell. But if there are further complications on the health front, Minnesota should be forming contingency plans if their current No. 1 at the position becomes unavailable for a lengthy period of time.
Although Arik Gilbert is converting to a wide receiver for Georgia in 2021, his frame and athletic attributes could make him an outstanding tight-end prospect at the NFL level. The player missed the Bulldogs’ national championship campaign for personal reasons, but head coach Kirby Smart declared his delight in the player earlier this spring after returning to the field.
Gilbert has all the makings of a star. If his time away from the gridiron hasn’t impacted him too much, then a huge campaign could be in the offing and this is something that will not go unnoticed by scouts across the country.
Hopefully, the Vikings can benefit from Smith staying healthy for an entire season. Something that the player hasn’t accomplished since his rookie year in 2019.
If they cannot, then it would be wise to explore alternatives and Gilbert should be on the shortlist.