Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah kept trading during Friday’s second round, moving down in a swap with the Packers before moving up in a deal with the Colts to select Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. with the 42nd overall pick.
The Vikings moved up 11 spots, from the 53rd pick, to further bolster their secondary by drafting Booth, a former five-star recruit who played three years for the Tigers. He’s the second rookie defensive back joining the Vikings after the first-round pick of Georgia safety Lewis Cine on Thursday night.
The Vikings then added LSU offensive lineman Ed Ingram later in the second round and Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah in the third.
After making a deal with the Lions to move down 20 spots in the first round, the Vikings opened the draft’s second day by trading with another division rival, sending the second pick of the night (No. 34 overall) to the Packers in exchange for picks No. 53 and No. 59. Green Bay selected wide receiver Christian Watson from North Dakota State with the 34th pick.
“Phone rings, man. You pick it up,” said Adofo-Mensah, who is running his first draft as an NFL GM. “We thought heavily about doing another trade in our division for another receiver. And to that point on the board, I don’t believe we had a corner yet. The gravity of that is not lost on me. In the end, I feel we were rewarded for what we did.”
Minnesota then sent pick No. 53, along with picks No. 77 and No. 192, to the Colts in exchange for No. 42 and a fourth-round pick (No. 122) on Saturday.
With the 59th overall pick acquired from the Packers, the Vikings took Ingram, selecting an offensive lineman within the first three rounds for the sixth straight year.
Ingram, 23, was a four-year starter at either left and right guard for LSU, most recently being named second-team All-SEC by coaches last season. He was suspended for the 2018 season after he was charged with two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. He was reinstated before the 2019 season after those charges were dropped.
Adofo-Mensah said the team did “extensive research” on the accusations and Ingram, including speaking with people “in and around the situation, in and around the program.”
“You’re betting on the forward and you’re betting on everything you were told,” Adofo-Mensah said. “But again, extensive process, we got to this place and we feel comfortable with our decision.”
When asked about the allegations, Ingram said, “A lot of teams talked about it.” He declined Friday to discuss what went into the charges, saying he wanted to focus on a “happy moment in my life” upon being drafted.
The Vikings turned back to defense in the third round, drafting Asamoah with the 66th overall pick. Asamoah, 22, projects as a special teams contributor and inside linebacker in the Vikings’ 3-4 defensive scheme under coordinator Ed Donatell. He’s a “tone setter” whose sideline-to-sideline range stands out, according to Mike Sholiton, director of college scouting for the Vikings.
Adofo-Mensah said it was a special call to Asamoah, who like Adofo-Mensah is from a family with Ghanaian heritage.
“He’s through the moon,” Adofo-Mensah said. “That was a cool moment for both of us.”
Booth’s draft experience fielded as much uncertainty as the Vikings’ draft slots. The 21-year-old cornerback said he was hoping he’d be a first-round pick. Booth has ideal size (6-foot, 194 pounds) and a five-star pedigree to defend the outside, where Minnesota needs another starting option opposite veteran Patrick Peterson.
But Booth has a lengthy medical history, and he said the wait was “nerve racking,” knowing he’d dealt with injuries for much of his three seasons for the Tigers.
He expects to be ready for Vikings minicamp next month while recovering from sports hernia surgery in March, a second operation to fix a core muscle issue initially operated on in April 2021. He played through the problem last season and had three interceptions in 11 games. He didn’t participate in the NFL Scouting Combine testing or Clemson’s pro day, citing a quad injury suffered while training.
Booth was also diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease as a child, which can cause pain and swelling in knees. He underwent knee surgery after the 2019 season to repair a torn patellar tendon. New Vikings senior adviser Ryan Grigson said the team “felt comfortable” with their medical checkups.
“I haven’t played healthy since, like, high school,” said Booth, a coveted college recruit from Georgia who had offers from Clemson, Alabama and Auburn, among others. “I did play through injuries and that’s why I just like, you know, have a chip now. You got a chip because it’s like I know who I am.”
“I know what I can bring to the table,” he added. “I actually believe what I’m saying that I’m supposed to be here on the Vikings.”
Grigson, who joined the team’s personnel staff under Adofo-Mensah, liked the competitive edge Booth showed on the field. That spilled over once during his 2019 freshman season, when Booth was ejected for punching a Louisville player after blocking for a punt return.
“Another real encouraging thing is, if he does make a mistake, you can kind of pick out points in the film where he makes up for it,” Grigson said Friday night. “He’s a real intense competitor. The word dog is thrown around a lot, but you see a lot of that on film and I think that was a consensus, too, with just the cluster of corners [that was available], that’s one thing that really shows through with him and the kind of guy you want at that position.”
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