2024 NFL Draft: One Final 7-Round Mock for the Minnesota Vikings

The 2024 NFL Draft is now just hours away. We are so close to finding out who the newest members of the Minnesota Vikings will be.

Even for fans of other teams, the Vikings will be one of the most interesting teams to watch on Thursday. With two first-round picks and a serious need for a quarterback, all eyes will be on general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Depending on how the board falls, the Vikings may decide to stand pat and just add two rookie difference-makers. Considering the team doesn’t own a second or third-round selection, trading back may even be an option.

With the draft kicking off tonight, let’s do one more complete mock draft. As always, this will be done with Pro Football Network’s Mock Draft Simulator. This final iteration will have several changes from my previous mock. Let’s get to it!

Round 1, Pick 15: Johnny Newton, DT, Illinois

Nov 25, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton (4) sacks Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Ben Bryant (2) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Vikings receive: Pick 15 and 46
  • Colts receive: Pick 11

Once again, I started with a trade. However, this time, I decided to trade down instead of up. As mentioned above, I don’t like the idea of having no picks in the second or third round. Luckily, the Indianapolis Colts were interested in trading up for wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. In this scenario, the Vikings only move back four spots and pick up a second-rounder.

In my opinion, Johnny Newton was the best player available here in a position of need. Newton is a serious game-wrecker who lives in the backfield. In 2023, Newton was a First-team Associated Press All-American and also earned Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. The big defensive tackle collected 52 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks in 2023 for the Fighting Illini.

In Minnesota, Newton would be an immediate starter as a three-technique. Newton would give the Vikings an enviable defensive front next to Harrison Phillips and Jonathan Bullard.

Round 1, Pick 23: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

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

Did you think I was going to ignore the quarterback position? In this scenario, I believe I got the best of both worlds- added a second-round selection and still got a QB for the future. Most mocks have had the Vikings selecting J.J. McCarthy instead with Penix falling to the second round in some situations.

I think that the gap between McCarthy and Penix is not all that large if it even exists. Penix is an athletic freak and ended with the second-highest Athleticism Score among all QBs at the 2024 NFL Combine. At Washington, receivers were schemed open for Penix allowing him to thrive as a pocket passer. Penix knows when to get rid of the ball, and thus did not take many sacks in college.

I believe Minnesota is the perfect landing spot for Penix. Kevin O’Connell has made Joshua Dobbs and Jaren Hall look serviceable, so there’s no telling what he could do with Penix. Even if Penix needs time to develop, Sam Darnold is on the roster as a stopgap. I love the idea of getting Penix and not having to trade up.

Round 2, Pick 46: Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State

Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas State offensive lineman Cooper Beebe (OL07) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the first round, the Vikings grabbed a DT and a QB. With the added second-rounder, the Vikings go with an offensive lineman in Cooper Beebe from Kansas State. Beebe had the fourth-highest Athleticism Score among all guards and earned First-team Associated Press All-American and Big 12 Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Beebe has short arms and could struggle with the speed of the NFL, but the guard consistently held up well in pass protection and drives smaller defenders. The Vikings have a need at guard with Ed Ingram and Ben Brandel penciled in as starters. Beebe may need to work on his run blocking in the NFL, but he’s a high-floor player who would immediately challenge for a starting spot.

Round 4, Pick 108: Jamari Thrash, WR, Louisville

Sep 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Jamari Thrash (1) catches the ball against Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Phillip Dunnam (6) in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jamari Thrash transferred to Louisville after having a breakout season in 2022 for the Georgia State Panthers. The move to tougher competition did not slow Thrash down, as the receiver ended with 63 catches for 858 yards and six touchdowns.

Thrash is an exceptional route-runner who can work on the inside or outside. The receiver could struggle with press coverage at the NFL level, which is why he’s not projected to be drafted higher. However, Thrash has great footwork and reaches a second gear during his routes which will intrigue teams. The Vikings could use some insurance at the receiver position as the Justin Jefferson contract situation plays out.

In Minnesota, Thrash would not have to be heavily relied upon. The young receiver could develop alongside Jordan Addison behind Jefferson. New QB Michael Penix Jr. will need all the weapons he can get.

Round 4, Pick 129: Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon

Oct 21, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks linebacker Jeffrey Bassa (2) defensive back Khyree Jackson (5) down a punt inside the 5 yard line during the second quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

Khyree Jackson is a big, physical corner from Oregon who could immediately challenge for a starting position in Minnesota. The defensive back stands at 6-foot-3 and plays physically like a safety. Jackson even blitzed occasionally at Oregon, making him a perfect fit for a Brian Flores defense.

Jackson ended the 2023 season with 34 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, and three interceptions. The corner isn’t afraid to make contact with receivers and help out against the run as well. In Minnesota, Jackson wouldn’t be thrust into a starting role immediately, so he would have time to develop. Jackson started just 14 college games so this is important for his development. Jackson is a solid mid-round option to solidify the back of the Vikings’ defense.

Round 5, Pick 157: Jonah Elliss, EDGE, Utah

Nov 12, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee (18) is sacked by Utah Utes defensive end Jonah Elliss (83) in the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Jonah Elliss is a high-motored edge rusher who lacks ideal NFL size but was extremely productive in college. The former Utah Ute collected 16 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2023. Elliss is also the brother of Kaden, who is a productive linebacker from the Atlanta Falcons.

Elliss will not be drafted as high as his production suggests he should be due to his size. However, with a DC like Brian Flores, Elliss could be useful on passing downs as a situation pass rusher. With Danielle Hunter no longer around, the Vikings need all the pass rush help they can get.

Round 5, Pick 167: Javon Foster, OT, Missouri

2024 NFL Draft
Feb 3, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American offensive lineman Javon Foster of Missouri (75) battle National edge Marshawn Kneeland of Western Michigan (99) during the second half of the 2024 Senior Bowl football game at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Javon Foster is an experienced SEC lineman who would provide more offensive line depth for the Vikings. The former Missouri Tiger started all 13 games at left tackle in 2023 and earned Third-team Associated Press All-American and First-team All-SEC honors.

Foster has good size at 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds. The tackle needs to work on his footwork, which can be sloppy at times and may struggle with quick edge rushers. However, Foster can be a mauler in the run game and would keep the team afloat if one of the starting tackles went down. His ability as a zone blocker makes him an intriguing mid-round fit for the Vikings.

Round 6, Pick 177: Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame

Sep 30, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Marist Liufau (8) fends off a block by Duke Blue Devils offensive lineman Justin Pickett (77) during the second half at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Marist Liufau is an interesting player. On paper, the linebacker should be a much better tackler than he was in college. Liufua has great size for an off-ball linebacker, standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing around 230 pounds. However, Liufau never excelled against the run or in space at Notre Dame.

However, Liufau can hold his own in coverage against slot receivers and tight ends. The LB figures to provide value on special teams and on passing downs in nickel packages. Liufau is worth a flier in the sixth round to see if Flores can develop his talents.

Round 7, Pick 230: Dominique Hampton, DB, Washington

Nov 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies cornerback Dominique Hampton (7) celebrates after a defensive play against the Utah Utes during the second half at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Hampton is an experienced defensive back from Washington, playing parts of six seasons for the Huskies. Hampton’s best season came in 2023 when the DB collected 109 tackles and two interceptions.

Hampton played some corner in college but figures to fit into the NFL as a safety. The DB has a massive 6-foot-7 wingspan and has decent ball-hawking ability. Hampton is often timid in run defense, but he can hold his own in coverage and on special teams. This is the type of depth pick that pays off down the line.

Round 7, Pick 232: Anthony Gould, WR, Oregon State

Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Anthony Gould reacts after Oregon Ducks defensive back Dontae Manning intercepts the ball during the second half of the annual rivalry game on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. Abigail Dollins/Statesman Journal

To wrap things up, I have the Vikings double-dipping at WR. As mentioned above, this team needs all the offensive firepower it can get. Much of the conversation surrounding Anthony Gould revolves around his lack of size. Gould stands at just 5-foot-8 and weighs in around 170 pounds.

However, the speedy receiver electrified at the combine, finishing with the fourth-highest Athleticism Score among all receivers. Gould ran a blazing 4.39 40-Yard-Dash which will interest some teams automatically. Gould came down with 44 catches for 718 yards and two touchdowns in 2023 for the Beavers. Gould will likely work out of the slot in the NFL and be a nice change-of-pace receiver. O’Connell could utilize Gould in jet sweeps and in short slants. This would be great value in round seven.

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