Vikings 2023 Draft: Seven-round post-2022 regular season mock draft

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Eric Gray
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Eric Gray /
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Minnesota Vikings
Ji’Ayir Brown (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

Third-Round Pick

Ji’Ayir Brown – S (Penn State)

The Vikings’ defense is in need of a major rebuild. Veterans like Harrison Smith and Eric Kendricks are starting to show some signs of their age, and they need to be replaced at some point in the near future.

While a cornerback is probably a better play in this situation, Ji’Ayir Brown is going to be a hard player to pass up. His ability to play on the back end of the defense would do wonders for the secondary.

There is something special about creating turnovers, regardless of how they happen. For Brown, he always seems to be in the right spot to recover loose balls and intercept deflected passes for a stout Penn State defense. In

In 26 over the past two seasons, Brown intercepted 10 passes to go along with three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, eight pass deflections, and two defensive touchdowns. That sort of game-changing ability is hard to teach.

The vision for this defense most likely features Lewis Cine as an in-the-box safety that has the speed and range to cover the boundaries when he is asked to do so. Ji’Ayir Brown would serve as the deep safety that cleans up the middle of the field as the eventual replacement for Harrison Smith.

This defense needs to get better at all three levels. Spending a third-round pick on a potential game-wrecker is not the worst plan of action.