A year after winning the NFC North in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell's first season together, the Vikings begin the 2023 draft with just five picks (including only two in the top 100) to reload a roster that could use some upgrades before starting its division title defense. They also have an eye on the quarterback class: though they've got Kirk Cousins, they're thinking about the future at the position with their starter set to turn 35 in August. The right opportunity to land a quarterback to develop behind Cousins could be too tempting to pass up.

Here is our best guess at how the Vikings will approach the 2023 draft.

FIRST PICK: Round 1, No. 11*

* — Acquired in exchange for No. 23 pick and 2024 first-round pick in mock trade with Titans.

Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida. This would be a bold move. Richardson comes in as a bit of a project, and the Vikings wouldn't hand him the starting job without at least a year for the 20-year-old to develop as a passer, the conductor of the offense and a leader of the franchise. But if he makes it past the top several picks, the prospect of letting coach Kevin O'Connell, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips and QB coach Chris O'Hara develop Richardson before pairing his spellbinding athletic ability with that of Justin Jefferson could be too tempting to pass up, for a team that doesn't plan to be picking this high very often.

Other possibilities

Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh. If the Vikings stay at No. 23, Kancey could give them the kind of interior pass rusher they've lacked in recent years. He had 14½ sacks the past two years; he's only 6 feet tall, but he can succeed in the NFL because of his quick first step.

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland. The Vikings need help at corner, and Banks would fit in the man coverage schemes the team will employ under defensive coordinator Brian Flores. He'll need to play in a way that doesn't get him flagged for pass interference or illegal contact, but he's a competitive enough corner to fit what the Vikings want to do.

SECOND PICK: Round 3, No. 95*

* — Acquired with No. 134 pick in exchange for No. 87 in mock trade with Chiefs.

Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State. The 6-foot-2 cornerback has 34-inch arms that give him the frame to fit in Flores' scheme. He'd need to improve his footwork in the NFL (he drew six penalties in 2022), and get better at tracking the ball in the air, but he'd join a group of rangy young corners the Vikings hope they can develop.

Other possibilities

Jonathan Mingo, WR, Mississippi. Mingo would give the Vikings another solid option who could line up outside while the team moves Jefferson and K.J. Osborn to different spots. He's 6-1, 220 pounds and has big enough hands to make him an inviting target who can win on contested balls.

Chandler Zavala, G, N.C. State. Zavala's injury history is concerning — he had back surgery in 2021 — but he's a 6-5, 316-pound guard that could begin his career as a backup and compete for a larger role with Ezra Cleveland scheduled to hit free agency after the season.

THIRD PICK: Round 4, No. 119

Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska. The Vikings put Palmer through a private workout before the draft; his 4.33-second 40-yard dash led all receivers at the NFL combine. He's only 6 feet tall, and struggled with drops in college, but he can be a dynamic special teams player and carve out a role on offense while the Vikings use his speed to take attention away from Jefferson.

Other possibilities

A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest. If the Vikings wanted to go a different direction at receiver here, Perry stands 6-foot-3 and used his smooth route-running skills to score 26 touchdowns in his last two seasons at Wake Forest. He would need to add some muscle to handle press coverage.

YaYa Diaby, LB, Louisville. It's never a bad idea to put athletic edge rushers on the depth chart, and Diaby would give the Vikings one. He's a well-built linebacker with long arms and powerful hands who could develop in the NFL if he continues to refine his rush technique.

FOURTH PICK: Round 4, No. 134*

* — Acquired with No. 95 pick in exchange for No. 87 in mock trade with Chiefs.

Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane. With Jordan Hicks in the final year of his contract, the Vikings can continue planning for the future in the middle of their defense with Williams. Like Brian Asamoah, Williams is smaller for the position (6-1, 228), but can move in space. The Vikings can build a defense with linebackers who can run and take away easy throws in the middle of the field.

Other possibilities

Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest. Turner might be a little small (6-2, 293) to play inside for the Vikings, but could carve out a role as a pass rusher as he improves his technique and continues to add strength in the NFL.

Moro Ojomo, DE, Texas. He was a 4-3 defensive tackle in college, and would need to make the transition to defensive end in a 3-4, but Ojomo has the frame to play the position, with 34½-inch arms and the strength to handle NFL offensive linemen.

FIFTH PICK: Round 5, No. 167*

* — Acquired with No. 189 pick in exchange for No. 158 in mock trade with Rams.

Viliami Fehoko, DE, San Jose State. The Vikings continue to add to their defense here with Fehoko, who had a private workout with the team before the draft. His athletic testing numbers weren't impressive enough to push him higher on draft boards, but he showed a resourceful approach to pass rushing in college and could contribute as a defensive end in the base scheme.

Other possibilities

Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama. He was primarily a press cornerback in college, and would welcome the challenge of doing the same in the NFL, though he'd have to stay healthier than he did at Alabama and show he can play with composure when quarterbacks test him.

Jaren Hall, QB, BYU. If the Vikings wait to take a quarterback, Hall could be a name worth keeping in mind. He made a positive impression during pre-draft interactions with the team, and though he'd have to learn to command a NFL offense, the 25-year-old seems to have the maturity to learn on the job.

SIXTH PICK: Round 6, No. 189*

* — Acquired with No. 167 pick in exchange for No. 158 in mock trade with Rams.

Jon Gaines II, G, UCLA. Gaines has the size and speed to be an intriguing prospect at a position where the Vikings still need more options. He started at every spot other than left tackle in Chip Kelly's offense, and could begin his career as a versatile backup while he refines his technique.

Other possibilities

Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina. Mitchell would be primarily a gadget player unless he can become a more effective inside runner, but he has a rare combination of speed and elusiveness that could give the Vikings another explosive skill position player.

Mike Morris, DE, Michigan. Morris led the Wolverines in sacks last season after Aidan Hutchinson left for the NFL, and has the size and length to play defensive end in the Vikings' base defense. He would need to develop more moves to consistently beat NFL offensive linemen, but his strength would help him find a fit against the run for now.

SEVENTH PICK: Round 6, No. 211

Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern. The Maple Grove native led all FBS running backs with 55 catches last season. He fumbled four times the past two years, and didn't show great explosiveness in college, but he's got good footwork and balance to make himself a third-down back while he improves as a pass protector.

Other possibilities

Anthony Johnson Jr., S, Iowa State. With Josh Metellus set to hit free agency after the season, Johnson could begin his time in the NFL by putting his special teams experience to good use while he earns time in the defense.

Will Mallory, TE, Miami. The Vikings will have a big role for T.J. Hockenson, but adding another pass-catching tight end behind him wouldn't be bad idea. Mallory has the size (6-4, 239 pounds) and speed to be a friendly target for Cousins, and he's grown up around the game thanks to his father, Mike, who's the Broncos' special teams coordinator.