Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL draft big board: 10 players who make sense in each round


The Minnesota Vikings are putting together their 2024 NFL Draft board, so why don’t we do the same?

Minnesota’s needs are obvious. Quarterback is the headliner, but cornerback and interior defensive lineman immediately follow from a positional standpoint. The Vikings could also benefit from guard help, further depth at running back and receiver and versatile defensive reinforcements.

The best way to showcase the Vikings’ options throughout the draft was to create a prospect listing for each round. We chose 10 players for each and selected them based on the Vikings’ pro-day visits and the prospects’ schematic fit.

— The Beast is coming! Keep your eyes peeled for Dane Brugler’s annual guide to the NFL Draft, publishing Wednesday, April 10.

Vikings draft picks

Round Pick Overall Notes

1

11

11

1

23

23

From Browns via Texans

4

8

108

4

29

129

From Lions

5

22

157

From Browns

5

32

167

From Chiefs

6

1

177

From Panthers through Jaguars

7

10

230

From Falcons via Browns and Cardinals

7

12

232

From Broncos via Texans and 49ers

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Vikings NFL Draft 2024 guide: Picks, predictions and key needs

Here are some sensible candidates for each round of the draft:

Round 1 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

Drake Maye

QB

6-4, 223

Jayden Daniels

QB

6-4, 210

J.J. McCarthy

QB

6-2, 219

Quinyon Mitchell

CB

6-0, 195

Byron Murphy II

DT

6-0, 297

Terrion Arnold

CB

5-11, 189

Dallas Turner

Edge

6-2, 247

Jared Verse

Edge

6-3, 254

Michael Penix Jr.

QB

6-2, 216

Nate Wiggins

CB

6-1, 173

We started with the quarterbacks. Yes, shocking. The position is — and should be — the Vikings’ top priority. Coach Kevin O’Connell is going through a rigorous evaluation process. Rather than attend pro days, observing from the periphery, he and Minnesota’s staff are holding private meetings and workouts. O’Connell is watching film alongside the prospects, teaching them concepts inside meeting rooms and gauging their ability to translate those teachings into action on the field.

Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy all possess intriguing attributes. Maye’s upside is undeniable. Daniels’ accuracy from the pocket is littered throughout his 2023 tape. McCarthy has the presence and arm strength to hurl passes over the middle when necessary. It also feels right to include Michael Penix Jr.’s name considering how desperate teams are for quarterbacks — and how much confidence Penix has in his arm.

If the Vikings don’t select a quarterback at No. 11, these five options make the most sense: Quinyon Mitchell, Terrion Arnold, Byron Murphy II, Dallas Turner or Jared Verse. The Vikings retooled their defense in free agency, but additional help, specifically at cornerback or on the interior of the defensive line, could help transform the unit. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores spoke with Mitchell at the Senior Bowl. Minnesota’s staff also is fond of Turner and Murphy, according to two sources briefed on the matter. These defenders feel like options between picks 10 and 20 given how many offensive players are projected to go in the top 10.

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Vikings mock draft 2.0: Creatively filling holes at quarterback and defensive tackle


Round 2/3 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

Jer’Zhan Newton

DT

6-2, 304

Braden Fiske

DT

6-3, 292

Marshawn Kneeland

Edge

6-3, 267

Cooper Beebe

G

6-3, 322

Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

CB

5-11, 183

Kool-Aid McKinstry

CB

5-11, 189

Michael Hall

DT

6-3, 290

Marques Tampa

CB

6-1, 189

Zak Zinter

G

6-6, 309

Bo Nix

QB

6-2, 214

Because the Vikings do not have second- or third-round picks (following the trade with Houston to acquire No. 23), we thought we’d combine the two rounds and offer 10 prospects who could fit in either. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has not shied away from trading up or down in the past, so it’s always possible Minnesota targets a pocket on Friday night for a player the team likes.

All 10 players on this list fit a position of need. Jer’Zhan Newton, Braden Fiske, Michael Hall and Marshawn Kneeland could fortify the Vikings’ front. Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Kool-Aid McKinstry and Marques Tampa would add depth and upside at outside cornerback. Zak Zinter and Cooper Beebe could be candidates to fill the left guard spot. And Bo Nix might have starter-level ability but has a relatively high floor as a backup.

The most interesting name on this list might be Kneeland. The 22-year-old only recorded 4.5 sacks this season. His 13.7 percent pressure rate, however, was well above average, and his size would bring some versatility to a coordinator who loves it.

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Round 4 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

MarShawn Lloyd

RB

5-8, 220

Mekhi Wingo

DT

6-0, 284

Mohamed Kamara

Edge

6-1, 248

Cam Hart

CB

6-3, 202

Cole Bishop

S

6-2, 206

Jalyx Hunt

Edge

6-4, 252

Marist Liufau

LB

6-2, 234

Spencer Rattler

QB

6-0, 211

Malik Washington

WR

5-8, 191

Bucky Irving

RB

5-9, 192

This is dart-throwing territory. Four years ago, Pro Football Focus’ Timo Riske investigated the success of hit rates for edge rushers selected in the fourth round. He found that 24.2 percent of them became starting-quality players. Running backs selected in the fourth round, meanwhile, had a 26 percent chance of becoming starting-caliber players.

This isn’t to say a team cannot find value here. Most of these players fit the profile O’Connell has reiterated he’s pursuing: smart, tough and physical players. Running backs MarShawn Lloyd and Bucky Irving thrived in yards generated after contact. Among 207 qualified rushers in college football last season, both ranked in the top 25 in that metric. Jalyx Hunt is a former safety with upside and elite movement skills for an edge rusher. Cole Bishop is a Josh Metellus-type player who utilizes instincts and size to compete at all three levels of the defense. Cam Hart is a lanky corner who might allow the Vikings defense to play more man coverage in 2024 and beyond.

Mekhi Wingo, Mohamed Kamara, Marist Liufau and Malik Washington all align with positions of need. Then there’s Rattler, who may not make it to the fourth round. He impressed at the Senior Bowl with his live arm and athleticism. That said, it’s hard to fathom this Vikings leadership group excitedly entering its third season at the helm with Sam Darnold as the starting quarterback and a developmental option chosen this late.

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South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler is expected to be selected in the third or fourth round. (Jeff Blake / USA Today)

Round 5 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

Cedric Gray

LB

6-1, 234

Nehemiah Pritchett

CB

6-0, 190

Will Reichard

K

6-1, 187

Kamal Hadden

CB

6-1, 196

Ray Davis

RB

5-8, 211

Khristian Boyd

DT

6-4, 317

Austin Booker

Edge

6-4, 240

Jaylon Carlies

S/CB

6-3, 227

Justin Eboigbe

DT

6-4, 297

Ty’Ron Hopper

LB

6-2, 231

You’re betting on traits and connections this late in the draft. The Vikings attended Auburn’s and North Carolina’s pro days, viewing both Nehemiah Pritchett and Cedric Gray. Kamal Hadden, Jaylon Carlies and Austin Booker are all prospects with measurables and production Minnesota might seek.

Don’t be surprised if the Vikings take a shot at a kicker, too. The team signed John Parker Romo, who excelled in 2023 with the United Football League’s San Antonio Brahmas. Reichard’s leg might leave something to be desired, but he was efficient at Alabama, a team consistently in high-pressure situations. Last year, he converted 22-of-25 field goals including all five attempts from 50 yards or more.


Round 6 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

Javon Solomon

Edge

6-1, 246

Cody Schrader

RB

5-8, 208

Tory Taylor

P

6-4, 223

Jordan Travis

QB

6-1, 200

Michael Barrett

LB

5-11, 233

Marcus Harris

DT

6-2, 286

Jha’Quan Jackson

WR

5-9, 188

Trente Jones

G

6-4, 305

Joshua Karty

K

6-2, 207

Jase McClellan

RB

5-10, 221

This is where we bet on production. Javon Solomon led all collegiate pass rushers last season in sacks (16). Cody Schrader had the third-most rushing yards (1,617). Tory Taylor finished sixth in the country in average yards per punt (48.2). End up with any of those three this late, and it’ll likely feel like a win.

Jordan Travis is an older quarterback with few elite traits, but his experience and leadership would fit well in a young quarterback room prioritizing long-term development.


Round 7 options

Player

  

School

  

Position

  

HT, WT

  

Xavier Thomas

Edge

6-2, 244

Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint

WR

6-1, 195

Javion Cohen

G

6-4, 324

Brevyn Spann-Ford

TE

6-6, 260

KT Leveston

OL

6-3, 326

Kalen DeLoach

LB

5-11, 210

JD Bertrand

LB

6-1, 235

Jordan Whittington

WR

6-1, 205

Cedric Johnson

Edge

6-3, 260

Kendall Milton

RB

6-1, 225

Are there any special-teamers and potential backups who could contribute? Answering that question led us to this final grouping. Somewhere, Minnesota is likely to take a stab at an interior offensive lineman, and Javion Cohen or KT Leveston makes sense.

The Vikings don’t necessarily need a tight end, but they succeeded in the seventh with Nick Muse a couple of years ago. Why not swing for a local product with traits like Brevyn Spann-Ford?

(Top photo of Byron Murphy II: Stacy Revere / Getty Images)





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