What if the Vikings Don’t Trade Up for a QB? Here Are the Top 5 Non-QB Vikings Draft Fits

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) celebrates sacking Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht (3) during the game at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2023 in Ames, Iowa.

Just about everybody has penciled in the idea that the Minnesota Vikings are going to find a way to trade up in the 2024 NFL Draft for a quarterback.

However, there is still a non-zero chance that the Vikings are unable to make such a move up the board. The draft is an unpredictable beast, so what would happen if Minnesota can’t combine the 11th and 23rd overall picks into a package to move up or is unable to justify the cost in order to do so? Here are some non-QB Vikings draft fits who could be on their radar in the first round.

DT Byron Murphy

Nov 11, 2023; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) in action during the game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Texas Longhorns at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, one of the biggest needs for the Vikings outside of the quarterback spot comes at defensive tackle. In particular, the Vikings could use more pass rushing help at that position. Byron Murphy out of Texas can fill that role after putting together 45 QB pressures during the 2023 season, which ranked fifth among all FBS defensive linemen.

On top of his pass rushing skills, Murphy is a very powerful run stopper, and that ability should only continue to get better as the 21-year-old defensive tackle continues to develop his game.

CB Quinyon Mitchell

Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Toledo defensive back Quinyon Mitchell (DB27) works out during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have a number of decent players in their cornerback room right now, but they don’t necessarily have a true CB1 who can consistently man the boundary. As a result, Minnesota played a ton of zone defense last year, which is not something that historically has been the case for Brian Flores defenses.

As a result, the Vikings could look to solidify that cornerback room with a selection of one of the best young prospects at the position, Quinyon Mitchell. He is a vicious tackler and very aggressive at the point of the catch, which allowed him pile up a whopping 37 passes defended over the past two seasons at Toledo while bringing prototypical NFL size and alarming speed and athleticism to his coverage repertoire.

EDGE Laiatu Latu

Sep 16, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Laiatu Latu (15) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the North Carolina Central Eagles during the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has loved bringing in defenders who can serve multiple different roles, and Brian Flores has a knack for maximizing these players’ strengths. Laiatu Latu is an edge rusher with a solid frame and ability to rush the passer. Moreover, he’s a very effective run stopper, potentially allowing Flores to play him in a multitude of different roles.

Of course, the Vikings did sign both Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, but Latu is the most developed edge rushing prospect in this draft class. Flores can find a way to utilize him immediately even amongst these other names at the position.

IOL Jackson Powers-Johnson

Nov 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson (58) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Vikings need some help along the interior of their offensive line right now. They still don’t have a starting left guard, and while this is not a position that Jackson Powers-Johnson has played throughout much of his career at Oregon, he can still help out.

Powers-Johnson spent the 2023 season playing at center, but he played right guard for the Ducks in 2022. With Ed Ingram spending much of his collegiate career at left guard, perhaps Powers-Johnson could take over the duties on the right side while Ingram shifts back over to the left.

Regardless, Powers-Johnson is elite in both run blocking and pass protection, so if the Vikings want to finally solidify their final spot on the offensive line, he would be a name to keep an eye on at No. 23.

WR Brian Thomas Jr.

Vikings Draft
Oct 21, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Army Black Knights defensive back Cameron Jones (10) during the first quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings are going to start Sam Darnold or draft a QB at No. 11, they should do their best to surround that quarterback with as much talent as they can in terms of pass catchers. K.J. Osborn is no longer in Minnesota, leaving a void at WR3, and T.J. Hockenson’s torn ACL could keep him sidelined for the early portions of the 2023 season.

At No. 23, Brian Thomas out of LSU would be a very tough player to pass up on to create a truly dynamic trio of WRs in Minnesota alongside Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson. The LSU product brings terrific size and blistering speed to beat defenses downfield.

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.