Vikings general manager Kwesi Adovo-Mensah continued trading through Friday’s second round, moving down in a swap with the Packers before moving in a deal with the Colts to pick Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. with the 42nd overall pick.
The Vikings advanced 11 positions, out of the 53rd selection, to boost their secondary by recruiting Booth, a former five-star recruit who played for three years with the Tigers. He is the second junior defensive player to join the Vikings after that First round pick for Georgia Lewis Cine safety Thursday night.
The Vikings then added LSU offensive lineman Ed Ingram later in the second round and Oklahoma team player Brian Asamoah in the third round.
After striking a deal with the Lions to move down 20 points in the first round, the Vikings opened the second day of the draft by trading with another competitor in the division, sending the second pick of the night (#34 overall) to the Packers in exchange for the #53 and #59 picks. Green Bay picked Wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota with the 34th pick.
“The phone is ringing, man. You pick it up,” said Adofo-Mensah, who is running his first draft as an NFL GM. “We’ve thought so hard about doing another deal in our division for another future. And up to that point on the board, I don’t think we’ve got a corner yet. I haven’t lost sight of the gravity of it on me. In the end, I feel like we’ve been rewarded for what we’ve done.”
Minnesota then sent a #53 pick, along with #77 and #192 picks, to the Colts in exchange for a #42 and a fourth round (#122) on Saturday.
With the 59th overall pick obtained from the Packers, the Vikings took over Ingram, picking an offensive lineman during the first three rounds for the sixth year in a row.
Ingram, 23, was a regular fixture for four years in either LSU’s right and left guard and was recently named the All-SEC Second Team by coaches last season. He was suspended for the 2018 season after being charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. It was brought back before the 2019 season After the charges were dropped.
Adovo-Mensah said the team conducted “extensive research” into the accusations and Ingram, including speaking with people “in and around the situation, in and around the programme.”
“You’re betting on the attacker and you’re betting on everything you’ve been told,” said Adovo-Mensah. “But again, an intense process, we got to this place and feel comfortable with our decision.”
When asked about the allegations, Ingram said, “A lot of teams have talked about it.” Friday refused to discuss what happened in the charges, saying he wanted to focus on “a happy moment in my life” when drafting it.
The Vikings returned to defense in the third round, drafting Asamoah with the 66th pick. Asamoah, 22, projects as a contributor to special teams and inside the line-back in a 3-4 defensive scheme for the Vikings under coordinator Ed Donatel. According to Mike Chulliton, Director of Scouting at Vikings, it’s a “tone selector” that brings out its sideband to the fringe.
The Adofo-Mensah said it was a special call to Asamoah, who like the Adofo-Mensah came from a family of Ghanaian heritage.
“It goes through the moon,” said Adovo-Mensah. “It was a wonderful moment for both of us.”
Booth’s experience in the draft countered as much uncertainty as the Vikings draft slots. The 21-year-old full-back said he had hoped it would be a first-round pick. With a perfect stall size (6 feet 194 pounds) and five-star pedigree for an outfield defense, Minnesota needs another starting option versus veteran Patrick Peterson.
But Booth has a long medical history, and said the wait was a “nervous strain,” knowing he had dealt with injuries for most of his three seasons with the tigers.
He is expected to be ready for Little Vikings camp next month while recovering from sports hernia surgery in March, a second operation to repair an underlying muscle problem initially performed in April 2021. He played through the problem last season and had three interceptions in 11 games. He did not take part in the NFL Scouting Combine or Clemson’s Professional Day, citing a quadruple injury he sustained while training.
Booth was also diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease as a child, which can cause pain and swelling in the knees. He underwent knee surgery after the 2019 season to repair a torn patellar tendon. Ryan Gregson, senior advisor to the New Vikings, said the team “felt comfortable” in their medical exams.
“I haven’t played healthy since, like high school,” said Booth, a coveted college recruit from Georgia who has received offers from Clemson, Alabama and Auburn, among others. “I’ve played through injuries and that’s why I love, you know, having a chip now. I’ve got a chip because I know who I am.”
“I know what I can bring to the table,” he added. “I actually think what I’m saying is that I’m supposed to be here on the Vikings.”
Gregson, who joined the crew under Adovo-Mensah, was impressed by the competitive advantage Booth displayed on the court. That extended once during his 2019 freshman season, when Booth was sent off for punching a player in Louisville after blocking him from returning.
“Another real fan thing, if he makes a mistake, you can kind of pick up points in the movie where he makes up for it,” Gregson said on Friday night. “He’s a real strong contender. The word ‘dog’ gets thrown around a lot, but you see a lot of that in the movie and I think that was a consensus too, with just a bunch of angles [that was available]That’s something that really shows up with him and the kind of guy you want in the position.”