4 early contenders for the Minnesota Vikings first-round pick in 2023

(Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Branch
(Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Branch /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports) Emmanuel Forbes /

Emmanuel Forbes – CB

Spending first-round picks on the cornerback position is nothing new for the Minnesota Vikings. This is something the team’s done plenty over the last decade with mixed success, but one cannot rule out the possibility of going in a similar direction during the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Vikings’ secondary was inconsistent at best this season. Cameron Dantzler had moments of quality despite some injury concerns, Patrick Peterson looked his age on occasions, and second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. spent more time in the treatment room than on the field.

Peterson is out of contract, so this need could become even more pressing if the Vikings don’t keep him around. In the NFL’s pass-happy world, this unit was often exposed, and unless this complication resolves, Minnesota will only get so far.

Emmanuel Forbes has shutdown cornerback written all over him. The Mississippi State product is fast, athletic, and has the length normally associated with productive defensive backs at the next level.

One thing that sets Forbes apart from most corners entering the NFL this year is instincts. He reacts extremely well to routes and boasts enough explosiveness to close down space quickly in pursuit of breaking up the play.

Forbes needs to improve his run-stopping upon arriving in the pros. But the Vikings should identify him as a prospect of immense interest during their discussions.