Vikings Mock Draft: What Should the Vikings Do if Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter Leave?

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

We are on the verge of NFL free agency officially getting started.

The Minnesota Vikings’ two biggest storylines of the offseason revolve around the free agency statuses of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter. If both veteran players were to leave in 2024, what exactly should the Vikings do to go about replacing them in the draft? Here is a Vikings mock draft discussing a potential pathway towards doing just that.

Vikings Mock Draft: Replacing Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter

Vikings Mock Draft
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

R1, P16 (via SEA): EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

QBs are going to fly off the board early in this draft, and it is going to be very competitive to get into the top 5 and land one of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, or J.J. McCarthy. If the Vikings are unable to do that, their next best option may be to trade down and try to secure another top 100 pick.

In this mock, the Vikings swing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move down to No. 16, and they snatch Laiatu Latu out of UCLA. Latu is one of the more technically sound, NFL-ready pass rushers in this draft and should be an immediate contributor. In addition to No. 16, the Vikings also receive the 78th overall pick and a second-round pick in 2025. Meanwhile, the Seahawks get No. 11 and No. 156.

R2, P42: QB Michael Penix, Washington

The Vikings are running a PAC-12-heavy draft room through the first two rounds, and they fill their QB need with the selection of Michael Penix. Penix has a very talented arm when he is allowed to stand back in the pocket, and he has some sneaky athleticism working in his favor as well.

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

However, folks could be scared off because of the injury history, thus dropping him out of the first round. If Penix can find a way to stay healthy, this could prove to be a steal of a draft selection in a few years.

R3, P78 (via SEA): DT T’Vondre Sweat, Texas

The Vikings go back to the defensive trenches with their newly-acquired third-round pick from the Seahawks. Hopefully, Minnesota is able to land a top defensive tackle in free agency (such as Christian Wilkins), but they could use another force in the middle of their defensive line.

T’Vondre Sweat is a massive player at 6’4″ and 366 pounds who is capable of being a wrecking ball, particularly in run defense. Even against the pass, he has become much more productive in recent years, and if nothing else, can garner the attention of opposing offensive lines to free up lanes for teammates.

R4, P107: RB MarShawn Lloyd, USC

The Vikings need to find a way to be more productive in the running game, especially if they will be relying on Penix or another rookie QB under center this season. MarShawn Lloyd is built like bowling ball, standing at 5’9″ and weighing 220 pounds, but his speed and acceleration are alarmingly quick. He would be a very strong addition to the backfield alongside Ty Chandler.

R4, P128: DT Maason Smith, LSU

Even if the Vikings were to sign a top free agent at the defensive tackle spot, they need to fill out their depth at the position. Maason Smith can be a pick to do that while also having the upside of a potential starter one day. Smith stands at 6’6″ and weighs 315 pounds. His brute force in the middle of LSU’s defensive line wreaked havoc on opposing offenses all season. By selecting Smith and Sweat, the Vikings would have one of the more intimidating defensive tackle duos in the league.

Sep 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) celebrates a play during the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

R5, P166: WR Luke McCaffrey, Rice

Everyone knows Christian McCaffrey, the star 49ers running back who just won Offensive Player of the Year. Well, his brother, Luke, is now headed to the NFL and hoping to turn heads with his own skillset. McCaffrey is a capable slot receiver with natural speed and very sure hands. If the Vikings are going to lose one of K.J. Osborn or Brandon Powell, this is a good spot to take a chance on a young receiver.

R6, P176: C Tanor Bortolini, Wisconsin

The Vikings need to add depth to their interior offensive line at some point in the draft. Throughout his career at Wisconsin, Tanor Bortolini has played at least 179 snaps at every position on the offensive line other than left tackle. He took over the full-time center role in 2023 for the Badgers, but his versatility to move all over the line would be welcomed in Minnesota.

R6, P187: CB Kamal Hadden, Tennessee

The cornerback position arguably is one that should have been tended to earlier in the draft, but the Vikings do have a decent number of bodies at that position who can play NFL snaps if needed. Kamal Hadden is a long corner with terrific strength on the boundary to outmuscle receivers at the line of scrimmage and on 50/50 balls. He could be a developmental project in Brian Flores’ defense.

R7, P230: LB Curtis Jacobs, Penn State

The Vikings found an absolute stud of a linebacker in Ivan Pace last offseason through undrafted free agency. Perhaps they can do something similar in the seventh round of the draft with Curtis Jacobs. He has more prototypical size at the position and possesses some great explosion as a blitzer.

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

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.