5 early defensive possibilities for the Vikings in the 2023 NFL Draft

(Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images) Clark Phillips III
(Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images) Clark Phillips III /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Christian Gonzalez /

Christian Gonzalez – CB (Oregon)

For all of the concerns with Clark Phillips III, the Vikings could still be very much involved in the cornerback market at the draft. Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez is the perfect prospect to develop as the primary shutdown cornerback that this team desperately needs.

Patrick Peterson will probably not return next season, given the price tag he has played himself into. The Vikings need to get better in the secondary, and losing Peterson would certainly hurt, but it would also allow them to be aggressive in getting a cornerstone in the draft.

Gonzalez is a lean defender with immaculate ball skills on the perimeter. He makes countless plays in the air but can also come down and contribute as a tackler and run-stopper when he needs to.

He is remarkable at the catch point and often looks like the receiver rather than the defender when the ball is lofted in his direction. He has all of the tools to become a lockdown cornerback at the next level.

There is a chance he can raise his stock into the top half of the first round and even be the first defensive back off the board. The cornerback class is full of talent, and the Vikings should be more than excited about that.