5 Middle-Round Prospects the Vikings Could Be Interested in during the 2024 NFL Draft

We’re almost there, Vikings fans. The 2024 NFL Draft is just two weeks away. The Minnesota Vikings currently own the 11th and 23rd picks in the draft, but a lot could change between now and then.

Last month, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made the decision to trade with the Houston Texans for the 23rd pick. While this could mean Adofo-Mensah is eyeing two new starters, it could also mean the GM is adding assets to move up in the first round for a quarterback.

While all eyes will be on the Vikings during the first round, the team also has multiple fourth and fifth round selections to utilize. Currently without any second or third round selections, the team will need to hit on these mid-round selections. Today, let’s identify prospects who should be on the board still for the team in the fourth or fifth round.

 Zak Zinter, OG, Michigan

Prospects
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Zak Zinter (65) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If not for a late season injury, Zinter would be off the board well before the fourth round. However, the guard is expected to fall after suffering a broken tibia and fibula in the regular season finale against Ohio State.

Zinter is already progressing from his injury and has the look of a solid NFL guard. Standing at 6’6” and weighing in at 319 pounds, Zinter has the size and strength to make it in the league. The former Michigan guard isn’t the most athletic lineman, but he’s good with his feet and quick enough to stay in front of pass rushers.

The Vikings need to add depth to the interior offensive line. It remains to be seen whether the team will reunite with Dalton Risner, but even if that reunion happens, more is needed. Zinter is a low-risk, high-reward option who could compete for a starting spot once he’s healthy.

McKinnley Jackson, DT, Texas A&M

Nov 26, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson (35) pressures LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) during the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

We go from the interior offensive line directly to the interior defensive line with McKinnley Jackson. Defensive line is a sneaky need for the Vikings, who are currently slated to start Jonathan Bullard and Jerry Tillery alongside Harrison Phillips.

Jackson is a massive run-stuffing nose tackle who could immediately slot into the line in Minnesota. The defensive tackle stands at 6’1” and weighs in at 331 pounds. The former Aggie will likely come off the field in the sub package, but he will make an impact when he’s in the game. Jackson could still be around in the mid rounds due to his lack of pass rushing skill.

Think of Jackson as a Khyiris Tonga replacement– a big body who can fill gaps and clog running lanes.

Mohamed Kamara, EDGE, Colorado State

Colorado State’s Mohamed Kamara (8) reacts during a college football game against CU at Folsom Field on Saturday, Sep. 16, 2023, in Boulder, Colo.

The group of edge rushers in Minnesota will look much different in 2024. Out are Danielle Hunter and DJ Wonnum, and in are Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel. Replacing Hunter’s incredible production will be no easy task, however, and more depth is needed.

If the Vikings plan to fill other needs first, Mohamed Kamara should still be around on day three of the draft. Kamara is not a top edge rusher due to his lack of size, but on production alone, Kamara would be one of the top edge rushers in this class. In 2023, Kamara collected 13 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 56 total tackles. The only thing going against Kamara is his frame, which could force him into a rotational role at the next level.

Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M

Nov 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Ainias Smith (0) stands on the field during the second half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

McKinnley Jackson isn’t the only Texas A&M Aggie who would make sense as a mid-round selection for the Vikings. Ainias Smith was a dangerous weapon in college, contributing in both the passing game and on special teams.

Smith caught 53 passes for 795 yards and two touchdowns in 2023. The versatile Smith also averaged 14.3 yards per punt return and returned one punt back for a TD. Smith’s slight frame will lead to him working exclusively out of the slot at the next level, but he’s sure-handed and knows how to run routes.

The Vikings currently have Trent Sherfield penciled in as the slot receiver, with Jalen Nailor and Brandon Powell as other options. Smith reminds me of a younger Powell, but with more skills as a receiver.

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 seems like the type of player Brian Flores would love to have on defense. Hampton is an athletic freak and had the second highest athleticism score among all safeties at the combine. The former Washington Huskie is versatile and could play a tweener role like Josh Metellus.

Hampton was extremely productive in 2023, collecting over 100 tackles and adding two interceptions. The DB may not have the speed to keep up with elite receivers and he does take questionable angles to the ball. However, Hampton is not afraid to make contact, meaning he could see the field in three safety sets. The physical tools here make Hampton an intriguing mid-round possibility.


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

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