3 Draft Theories Surrounding the Vikings

NFL: Combine
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is inching closer and closer.

Despite the fact that this spring’s event is less than four weeks away, there is still a lot of uncertainty as to where the top prospects, particularly at the quarterback position, will end up landing. The Vikings only add to that mystery with the wide array of directions that they could end up taking in the draft. Here are three draft theories surrounding the purple team as April approaches.

Package Picks to Move Up for QB

Draft Theories
Nov 11, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most obvious scenario for Minnesota. They need to figure out their quarterback position this spring after Kirk Cousins ditched town for the Atlanta Falcons. Seeing as the Vikings hold the 11th and 23rd selections and are the only team looking to move up to select a QB that has multiple first-round picks this year, they have the most appealing trade package for prospective partners.

As a result, Minnesota certainly could move into the top five and select the best of whichever QBs remain after the dust settles following the Chicago, Washington, and potentially New England selections. PFF’s Brad Spielberger recently laid out this scenario by having the Vikings trade up to No. 5 and sending the Los Angeles Chargers both 11 and 23. Spielberger had Minnesota landing J.J. McCarthy in that scenario.

Stick-and-Pick at Nos. 11 and 23

Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Trading both picks would ensure that the Vikings land a top quarterback in the draft, but what if they don’t want to give up all their draft capital for a quarterback? Minnesota very well could decide to just stick with their two first-round selections and draft whichever players are available.

This could be a very risky proposition considering how many teams could be looking to draft quarterbacks, including the aforementioned trio at the top of the draft as well as the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders. However, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks sees things playing out a little differently.

In his latest mock draft, Brooks decided not to have the Vikings trade up for a quarterback, and against all odds, they still found a way to land Drake Maye with the 11th overall pick. This might be an unlikely scenario, but it cannot be ruled out. The Chargers certainly won’t be enthusiastic about trading away their pick to division rivals (Denver, Las Vegas), and the Falcons have been taken out of the QB hunt after landing Cousins.

Additionally, the Vikings very well could just take Michael Penix at either 11 or 23 while landing more defensive help with the remaining pick.

The Wild Trade Idea

Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Houston Texans in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

While some believe the Vikings will use their draft picks to select a quarterback, a wild theory remains in circulation that Minnesota could trade for an established QB. Former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum recently conducted a mock draft where he had the Vikings trading No. 11 in exchange for current Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and the No. 66 overall pick.

As a result, the Vikings got a quarterback, retained one of their first-round picks, and got back into the second day of the draft. It’s not necessarily the worst outcome for the Vikings, but the timing simply doesn’t seem to add up in Minnesota.

Murray is going to be one of the more expensive quarterbacks over the next five years with cap hits that look like this:

  • 2024: $49.1 million
  • 2025: $43.3 million
  • 2026: $53.3 million
  • 2027: $43.5 million
  • 2028: $46.4 million

While Arizona would end up taking on some of that money, it is still a hefty chunk of cash to pay for a quarterback on top of eventual extensions for stars like Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw. If the Vikings truly wanted to ensure an established starter was in that room and was willing to pay one, they likely would have made more of an effort to keep Cousins around and nor would they have signed Sam Darnold to a mostly guaranteed contract.

Overall, this type of trade feels like the least likely of any of these three scenarios.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Spotrac.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.