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GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah not concerned about Vikings’ dearth of picks in 2023 draft

The Vikings currently are scheduled to have the No. 23 pick in the first round of the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, Mo.

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell gets some love from his boss general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah before the start of a NFL football game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2022.
John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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EAGAN, Minn. -- In Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft as general manager, the Vikings last year ended up with 10 selections. So far, Minnesota has just four for the 2023 draft.

The website OvertheCap.com projects the Vikings will be awarded a fifth-round compensatory pick, but that still would leave them entering the draft with half as many picks as they ended up having last year. But Adofo-Mensah seemed unconcerned about that this week.

“There’s always ways (of getting additional picks),’’ he said. “But I’d also say that, last year when we talked about our plans, it was a two-year horizon. So last year, our class, I think was bigger than you normally would have expected, and I think we’ve got a lot of young, good contributing players out there.”

The Vikings currently are scheduled to have the No. 23 pick in the first round of the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City, Mo. The Vikings also have selections in the third, fourth and fifth rounds.

Regarding Adofo-Mensah’s two-year look at the draft, it remains to be seen how strong Minnesota’s 2022 class will end up being. Second-round pick Ed Ingram became a starter at right guard, and was the only Minnesota player to play every offensive snap in 2022. However, other draftees did not see extensive action.

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Third-round pick Brian Asamoah did show promise in getting some snaps as a backup linebacker. And cornerback Akayleb Evans, a fourth-round selection, started two games, but then missed the final month after sustaining his third concussion of the season.

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Injuries also hit safety Lewis Cine, a first-round pick who was lost for the season after suffering a broken leg Oct. 2 at New Orleans, and cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., who suffered a season-ending knee injury Nov. 20 against Dallas. Adofo-Mensah was asked about moving forward not knowing how well Cine and Evans will recover.

“You’re never sure,’’ Adofo-Mensah said. “We live in uncertainty, so you kind of plan almost probabilistically and that’s why you have conversations with (head coach) Kevin (O’Connell) and say, ‘Hey, if we were to lose this person, how could we play?’ ”

Extension for Hockenson?

The Vikings will have contract extension talks this offseason with tight end T.J. Hockenson, who was acquired Nov. 1 from Detroit.

In the deal, the Vikings sent the Lions a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round selection and also got back a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round conditional selection. Hockenson, who made his second career Pro Bowl, had 60 catches for 519 yards for Minnesota and overall had career highs of 86 receptions and 914 yards for the season. He had 10 catches for 129 yards in last Sunday’s 31-24 playoff loss to the New York Giants.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson runs with the ball against New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium. Hockenson had 10 catches for 129 yards in the 31-24 season-ending loss.
Jeffrey Becker / USA Today Sports

“If you take a move like T.J. Hockenson for example, I think that was a today move, but that’s also a really great ascending young player who played well for us this year and we have under contract next year with the ability to keep around for a long time,’’ Adofo-Mensah said. “He’s fit so well into our culture.”

Hockenson is under contract to make $9.33 million in 2023, his fifth season. If an extension isn’t reached this offseason, he would be in line to be a free agent in March 2024.

Briefly

The New England Patriots have requested to interview Minnesota wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell for their open offensive-coordinator position. … Vikings hall of fame defensive tackle John Randle, who is director of the Central North Region for the NFL Legends Community, and former Pro Bowl center Matt Birk watched Minnesota’s loss to the Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in a suite with commissioner Roger Goodell.

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