The Five Biggest Surprises from the 2024 Vikings Draft

NFL: Combine
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings had a historic draft in 2024.

The Vikings landed a pair of promising prospects in the first round, and they seemed to go completely against a number of historic draft trends for the franchise. There were plenty of surprises throughout the 2024 Vikings draft, and here five of the bigger shocking occurrences from the event.

Five Surprises from the 2024 Vikings Draft

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. McCarthy’s Slide

By the time the draft arrived, it was a general consensus that acquiring J.J. McCarthy would cost Minnesota both Nos. 11 and 23 and potentially their 2025 first-round pick in order to acquire him. Instead, Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye flew off the board with the first three picks, and McCarthy steadily fell down the board.

The Vikings were the beneficiaries of the Atlanta Falcons seemingly out of nowhere deciding to select Michael Penix with the eighth overall pick. As a result, they only needed to move up a singular spot in order to snatch the Michigan QB at No. 10.

A Second Trade Up in R1

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had never made a trade up the board in the first round before snatching McCarthy, but about an hour later, the Vikings GM decided to trade up again in order to snatch Dallas Turner. Adofo-Mensah gave up a pretty hefty chunk of draft capital to pull off the move as well, which has not been his M.O. to this point.

Vikings Draft
Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody expected it to be an exciting first round for the Vikings, but somehow, Adofo-Mensah outdid himself with his trades for quality players.

Waiting on DT until R7

Outside of the quarterback position, it seemed like Minnesota’s biggest need in the draft came at the defensive tackle position. When the Vikings moved up to No. 17, my personal assumption was that the move would be for Johnny Newton.

Instead, the Vikings opted to wait until the seventh round to select a defensive tackle, bringing in Levi Drake Rodriguez with the 232nd overall pick. After striking out on a number of names in free agency, Minnesota seems content to roll out their current DT group in 2024.

No WR Selection

The surprise here comes not necessarily from WR being the biggest need on the team, but simply from the sheer talent at the position in this draft class. Even well into the third day, there were plenty of potential contributors available.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Vikings still have one of the best WR duos in the NFL with Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson, but their WR3 spot could be a big question this season, particularly with the potential for T.J. Hockenson missing at least a portion of the 2024 season.

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

No Day 3 Trades

Throughout his tenure as the general manager of the Vikings, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has built up a reputation for making a number of trades throughout the draft. Particularly on the third day, the Vikings GM has had a tendency to slide up and down the board.

Particularly because of Minnesota’s shortage of assets in 2025, there could have been a number of moves made in Day 3 to try and recoup some of the picks that were spent to acquire McCarthy and Turner. Instead, for the first time in his GMing career, Adofo-Mensah decided not to pull the trigger on any trades throughout the third day of the draft.

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.