2024 Vikings Mock Draft: Building a Strong Foundation for Success

Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‚ÄźMensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason is about getting Kevin O’Connell everything he needs to succeed in 2024.

Whether or not general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brings back quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Vikings need to invest at quarterback. The Vikings also need to attack the defense in the draft to supply defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ vision fully. He made chicken salad with the players he was given. Minnesota isn’t far removed from being a playoff team, and the draft will be the place to get them back to it.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) signals his team against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings will have nine draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, with five in a 50-pick range early in the third day.

  1. Round 1, Pick 11
  2. Round 2, Pick 42
  3. Round 4, Pick 108
  4. Round 4, Pick 130
  5. Round 5, Pick 148
  6. Round 5, Pick 160
  7. Round 5, Pick 166
  8. Round 6, Pick 179
  9. Round 7, Pick 230

Key Vikings Free Agents

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It all starts with Cousins. Will he be brought back, and if so, for how long and for how much money? With extensions for Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw looming, saving room for the pieces that will be here long-term is essential. Depth at interior offensive line and tight end will need to be addressed in the off-season if guard Dalton Risner and Johnny Mundt make it to free agency unsigned.

The Vikings’ front-seven defense should get an overhaul in 2024. Players on the defensive front like Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Jonathan Bullard, D.J. Wonnum, and Jordan Hicks are all pending unrestricted free agents. The Vikings need to figure out how to get Hunter and Bullard back into the fold for 2024.

The Mock Draft

Mock Draft
Oct 21, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Jared Verse (5) reacts before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

NOTE: This mock draft was conducted via NFL Draft Buzz’s simulator.

Round 1, Pick 11: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Jared Verse is tenacious, explosive, and has size on the edge at 6’4″and 260 pounds. Pairing Hunter with Verse would be a nasty, tough combo. Verse had the third-highest pass rush win rate amongst 2024 NFL draft edge players, with a 22% win rate. He has the highest ceiling amongst his peers.

Jared Verse scouting report

Round 2, Pick 42: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

McCarthy is a prospect who should benefit from the draft process, but for right now, he falls to the second round, and the Vikings can’t pass on the opportunity. In this scenario, Kirk Cousins has resigned, and McCarthy could have more time to develop before taking over. McCarthy is mechanically sound, takes well to caching, and is methodical in his approach- something that will only be reinforced under the tutelage of Cousins. 

J.J. McCarthy scouting report

Round 4, Pick 108: Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Robinson is a monster of an athlete, similar to Danielle Hunter when he came out of LSU in 2015. He’s a 6’5″, 290-pound defensive lineman with 35-inch arms. Robinson is massive. Big enough to play inside or out, Robinson’s versatility would go a long way in a group that could lose a lot of snaps.

Round 4, Pick 130: James Williams, S, Miami

In the fourth round, they take Miami’s James Williams. Williams is a freak of nature corner in the mold of Baltimore’s All-Pro S Kyle Hamilton. Williams stands at 6’4″ and 230 pounds. He’s a tone-setter for the defense. Williams earned a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in college football. He pairs this physicality with legitimate explosiveness and is a menace coming downhill in run support. He could pair well with Ivan Pace Jr as a nickel linebacker or be in line to play Harrison Smith’s role.

Round 5, Pick 148: Jordan Jefferson, NT, LSU

The big and strong nose tackle was a tough run defender for LSU. At 6’4″, 317 pounds, Jefferson is a good size for the NFL. His strong hands and quick step rip through one-on-ones. Jefferson would be a welcome addition to the interior defensive line, especially if Bullard doesn’t re-sign.

Round 5, Pick 160: Javon Baker, WR, UCF

Javon Baker can line up across the formation and excel in K.J. Osborn’s vacated role. Baker finished tops amongst his peers in many advanced metrics last year, similar to Puka Nacua, but has been buried to this point. Don’t be fooled, though; Baker had a great Senior Bowl, and his being available in the fifth round is trending toward highly unlikely.

Round 5, Pick 166: Cody Schrader, RB, Missouri

Cody Schrader is as consistent and reliable as they come, a welcome addition to the backfield in Minnesota, who was consistently average for most of the season. Running backs Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler aren’t going anywhere in 2024 but are in line for better competition. 

In 2023, Schrader had an incredible season in college football, winning awards and leading the SEC in rushing yards and attempts. He earned All-American honors.

Round 6, Pick 179: Christian Jones, OT, Texas

Jones was a surprise standout at the Senior Bowl, impressing in one-on-one drills against Chris Braswell from Alabama. Jones’ limited athleticism could push him into playing guard at the next level. However, having spent six years in college, the Texas product could enter camp ready to contribute. At worst, Jones becomes an excellent depth piece for the Vikings, who have some upcoming questions about depth. Jones is a great value selection in the sixth round.

Round 7, Pick 230: Isaac Rex, TE, BYU

Minnesota has Josh Oliver and T.J. Hockenson under contract for 2024, but Hockenson is recovering from a significant knee injury and might need some extra time. O’Connell showed that in Hockenson’s absence, he would like Josh Oliver to remain in his role as a run-blocking technician. This highlights the importance of Johnny Mundt’s potential departure, as he was featured in Hockenson’s role down the stretch.

Isaac Rex, a former freshman All-American, has received little attention in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, at the Shrine Bowl, he proved to be a valuable player with three-down ability and protection skills. Despite sustaining a severe ankle injury at the end of 2021, Rex made a strong comeback in time for the 2022 season, starting over 50 games in his career.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus.