Who are some players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft that would have helped the Minnesota Vikings avoid a losing record this past season?
At the end of every season, the Minnesota Vikings and many other NFL teams, especially those watching the playoffs at home, reflect on what went wrong during the previous few months.
More often than not, teams look back at the picks they made (or not made) in their most recent draft that didn’t pan out.
During the 2023 season, the Vikings finished with a 7-10 record, one year after getting to the playoffs with 13 wins.
First-round draft pick Jordan Addison was a fantastic selection for Minnesota. As a rookie, he caught 70 passes for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns.
However, the Vikings missed out on some notable players in the 2023 draft that could have helped them.
With the benefit of hindsight, let's look at a few players Minnesota likely regrets not drafting in 2023.
To make it a little more difficult, all of the players included on this list were drafted in 2023 after the Vikings' second pick late in the third round.
Player No. 1
Aidan O’Connell - QB
Drafted By: Las Vegas Raiders (Fourth Round, Pick No. 135)
With the 164th pick in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected BYU quarterback Jaren Hall.
In his rookie season, Hall started two games and played in a third in place of injured signal-caller Kirk Cousins.
During his time under center, Hall completed 65 percent of his passes for 168 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked four times.
Because of Cousins’ season-ending Achilles injury, Minnesota started four different quarterbacks in 2023.
It would have been interesting to see what Aidan O’Connell could have contributed. O’Connell was selected 135th overall in the fourth round by the Raiders in 2023.
The Raiders began the year with Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback and Josh McDaniels as the head coach.
By the ninth week of the season, McDaniels was out as coach and replaced by interim Antonio Pierce. Garoppolo was also injured, and O’Connell took his place.
The rookie permanently took over for the remainder of the year as the dissatisfaction over Garoppolo’s play intensified.
O’Connell ended 2023 with 2,218 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. At the very least, he would have probably been a better, more consistent answer as a fill-in for Cousins.
He went 5-5 as a starter for Las Vegas, and it could have definitely been argued that Minnesota had better offensive weapons than the Raiders in 2023.
O’Connell could have likely helped the Vikings win at least a few more games during their 1-6 skid to end the season and perhaps that would have resulted in Minnesota making the playoffs as a wild-card team.