A Realistic Vikings Draft Option at Every Position

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The Minnesota Vikings have a number of needs to fill in the upcoming NFL Draft.

While they may not be able to fill absolutely all of them in a few weeks, they do enter this draft with nine selections to their name. This provides plenty of opportunities to select players with lots of talent. Here is a look at potential options at every position for this year’s Vikings draft.

Realistic Vikings Draft Options

Vikings Draft
Oct 28, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback: Drake Maye, North Carolina

If the Vikings don’t trade up for a quarterback later this month, perhaps J.J. McCarthy or Michael Penix would be the more realistic option. However, given the fact that Minnesota owns a pair of first-round picks this year, it is most likely in my opinion that the Vikings do find a trade to move up the board. If that happens, Drake Maye is a fantastic option with great size, arm strength, and mobility at the position.

Running Back: MarShawn Lloyd, USC

The Vikings signed Aaron Jones in free agency, so the running back spot could be placed on the backburner for another offseason. However, if Minnesota wants to get a jumpstart on their planning for 2025, they hold a pair of fourth-round picks, and one of those selections could be used on MarShawn Lloyd. The USC product is a very compact player at 5’9″ and 220 pounds, but he possesses plenty of burst to go along with some physicality in the trenches.

Wide Receiver: Jamari Thrash, Louisville

With K.J. Osborn no longer on the roster, Minnesota needs to find a player to fill that WR3 role. For now, the only true acquisition that the Vikings have made at wide receiver is the signing of Trent Sherfield, who has only surpassed 100 receiving yards twice in his six-year career. Jamari Thrash’s struggles with some drops could drop him into Day 3 of the draft, but the skillset is undeniable. He is a supremely impressive route runner and has the speed to get over the top of defenses in a hurry.

Sep 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Jamari Thrash (1) catches the ball against the Indiana Hoosiers iin the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End: Erick All, Iowa

The Vikings have their entire tight end room from 2023 back in the building, but T.J. Hockenson will more than likely miss at least a few weeks at the beginning of the season. If the Vikings want to try and secure some extra depth for their TE spot, Erick All out of Iowa could be an option because of his superb blocking and improved receiving skills.

Offensive Tackle: Donovan Jennings, South Florida

This year’s offensive tackle class is supremely talented, but the Vikings already have a pair of stalwart starters in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. Regardless, they could use some extra depth with David Quessenberry and Coy Cronk being the only tackles behind them (excluding Blake Brandel, who has switched over to guard). Donovan Jennings could be that depth option because of some terrific strength that was showcased throughout his collegiate career.

Interior Offensive Line: Zak Zinter, Michigan

If he did not suffer a broken leg back in November, Zak Zinter may have received a lot more draft hype this spring. However, he has not been able to go through much of the on-field draft process and could be set to miss some time during his rookie season. Regardless, Zinter is a powerful run blocker at guard and has the potential to be a starter at some point during his NFL career. The Vikings still currently need to figure out their starting left guard position, so the Michigan product could be a potential fit in the o-line.

Edge Rusher: Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Notre Dame

The Vikings are going through a changing of the guard at their edge rusher/outside linebacker position. They will have new starters this year after all three of Marcus Davenport, Danielle Hunter, and D.J. Wonnum left. If they want to fill out their depth behind newcomers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, Javontae Jean-Batiste could be an option early in Day 3. He proved to be a strong pass rusher and run stopper throughout his collegiate career and could become a productive NFL player if he packs on some more weight (weighed in at just 239 pounds at the NFL Combine).

Defensive Tackle: DeWayne Carter, Duke

The Vikings need more of a pass rushing presence at their defensive tackle position this year. Dean Lowry was unable to fill that role in 2023, and he is now employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a result, the third day of the draft looks like Minnesota’s chance to fill that role. DeWayne Carter did not have as productive a season at Duke in 2023, but he piled up 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Sep 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte 49ers quarterback Chris Reynolds (3) throws under pressure from Duke Blue Devils defensive tackle DeWayne Carter (90) during the first quarter at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Inside Linebacker: Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State

The Vikings might be set at the top of their inside linebacker room with Blake Cashman and Ivan Pace. However, more depth could be necessary behind those players, particularly considering Cashman only has one true starting season under his belt. Tommy Eichenberg is well-built with terrific physicality which could be desired in Brian Flores’ defense.

Cornerback: Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri

Depth at cornerback won’t be at the top of Minnesota’s to-do list, but it would be nice to bring in another contributor to fill in behind Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, and Mekhi Blackmon. Kris Abrams-Draine is another smaller cornerback, but he is lightning quick and played with extreme physicality and elite ball skills (recorded four interceptions in 2023).

Safety: James Williams, Miami

The very last thing on Minnesota’s list of needs comes at the safety spot. They return the entirety of a group that performed very well during the 2023 season. However, Flores utilized his safeties in a number of different ways, and James Williams can add to that versatility. He is a massive player at 6’4″ and 231 pounds. He could be another Josh Metellus-esque player who can wreak havoc as a blitzer and in run support.

Kicker: Will Reichard, Alabama

This one is for you, Mr. Joudry. Of course, the Vikings will employ a new kicker in the 2024 season after Greg Joseph left for the Green Bay Packers. Perhaps John Parker Romo can be that guy, but if the Vikings want to bring in competition, Will Reichard out of Alabama is as good a candidate as any.

Reichard missed just two of his 297 extra point attempts during college, and he connected on 84 of his 100 field goal attempts, including hitting over 70% of his kicks from 50+ yards. Reichard kicked in high leverage games throughout his collegiate career, and he should be as NFL-ready as any kicker in the draft if the Vikings want to use a seventh-round pick on him.

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

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.