Along with Quarterback, the Minnesota Vikings Have One More Major Draft Need

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Earlier this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings made a pivotal move to acquire the 23rd overall pick from the Houston Texans.

Ever since that point, the general consensus has been that Minnesota will conduct another trade to move up the board and select a quarterback in the first round. The QB position certainly is a need for the team, particularly after Kirk Cousins left to play for the Atlanta Falcons.

As of now, Sam Darnold would be competing with Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall for the starting position if Minnesota doesn’t land a top draft prospect. That could prove to be a problem for a team that stumbled down the stretch of the season in part because of suboptimal quarterback play.

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates after a play during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

However, the Vikings currently have another glaring draft need that may be equally, if not more dire than their quarterback need. That need comes at the defensive tackle position.

The Vikings’ Other Major Draft Need

Minnesota went into free agency without much production at their defensive tackle spots in 2023. Harrison Phillips provided some solid all-around play, but isn’t a star while Jonathan Bullard is a strong run stopper but never has been able to generate much of a pass rush.

Dean Lowry was supposed to be Minnesota’s other pass rushing DT in 2023, but he failed to live up to those expectations and saw his season come to an end due to a torn pec. As a result, the Vikings’ defensive tackles totaled just five of the team’s 43 sacks last season.

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Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the rest of the Vikings’ leadership seems to recognize this need as they’ve scheduled a number of pre-draft visits with defensive tackles. As of now, two of their eight confirmed top-30 visits are with DT prospects.

One of those prospects is Byron Murphy out of Texas, who is considered by some to be the top DT in this draft class. This past season, he recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks for the Longhorns.

Their other top-30 visit is with Khristian Boyd out of Northern Iowa. Boyd is a well-built player at 6’2″ and 320 pounds, and despite having shorter arms, he was able to generate plenty of power as a pass rusher during the 2023 season with the Panthers. He finished the year with 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

Minnesota Vikings
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) celebrates after a play during the second quarter in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

However, playing in the FCS, there is a question as to how much Boyd will be able to contribute at the NFL level, particularly as a rookie. He should be available in Day 3 for the Vikings, which is projected to be a busy day for the team with seven of their nine selections coming on that Saturday.

Overall, it would be incredibly surprising if the Vikings don’t opt to take another defensive tackle at some point in this spring’s draft.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.