5 prospects no longer on the Vikings radar in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft

(Photo by Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) Jaxon Smith-Njigba
(Photo by Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) Jaxon Smith-Njigba /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Trenton Simpson /

Trenton Simpson – LB (Clemson)

Trenton Simpson was a popular choice for the Vikings when the 2023 draft season was in its infancy. Simpson is an extremely versatile linebacker who can be used as a traditional linebacker, can be put up on the line to blitz off the edge, or can even drop into the secondary and play some safety.

It seemed like a perfect fit, as new Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores stressed how he loves versatile players in his introductory press conference. Vikings fans quickly became enamored and just hoped he would make it to the 23rd overall choice.

Since then, the first-round buzz on Simpson has cooled off. There’s no real definite reason, it just feels like all the mock drafts have him falling out of the first round. There does seem to be some sort of concern league-wide that teams just don’t know how to use this versatile defensive piece.

So the buzz has cooled, and the Vikings have already addressed their linebacker group twice in free agency.

First, they brought back Jordan Hicks, and then they signed Troy Reeder. While neither of these signings broke the bank, the Vikings have bigger holes to fill, which could lead them to pass on Simpson.

There’s still an outside chance that Minnesota drafts Simpson in round one, but he’s definitely not one of the more likely options to end up in purple in a handful of days.