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
Eric Gray (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Sixth-Round Pick No. 1

Eric Gray – RB (Oklahoma)

The writing is on the wall for Dalvin Cook to be a cap casualty this offseason, leaving the Vikings with some question marks at running back. Alexander Mattison has been a fine backup and does well as a starter, but I am hesitant to believe he is the starter of the future. Mattison is also a free agent himself this offseason and is no guarantee to be a Viking in 2023.

Minnesota already has two players on the depth chart that can mimic the speed of Cook in space with Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler. They need a powerful runner that can take care of the Mattison role if and when he departs. Oklahoma’s Eric Gray is the perfect prospect at this stage of the draft.

He is a strong runner that can make defenders miss in space but is not afraid to absorb contact and push the pile for extra yards. Gray also lined up in the slot at times and contributed to the passing game from outside of the backfield.

Sixth-Round Pick No. 2

Ali Gaye – EDGE (LSU)

Minnesota has a history of adding pass rushers late in the draft and hoping they can develop, and that was the case once again with the new regime in 2022. Late in the draft, they selected Minnesota’s own Esezi Otomewo to sit behind Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith.

Ali Gaye entered the season as a potential top-50 selection but has fallen hard after a rough season at LSU.  The 24-year-old pass rusher recorded just 6.0 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in 13 games last season.

The highlight of Gaye’s season was an egregious targeting penalty in his season opener that warranted far more than an ejection. He has the physical tools and traits that make a Day 3 pick worth the chance, but Gaye has not become the player many expected him to be. For the sixth round, this is about what you are looking for in a draft and stash scenario.

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