12 Prospects the Vikings Could Target in the First Round of the 2024 NFL Draft

Every Draft Pick Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Has Played a Role in Making
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sport.

The 2024 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and will begin in 2.5 months on April 25th.

When the first round of the draft arrives, the Minnesota Vikings will have a big decision on their hands in regard to their 11th overall selection. As the draft continues to get closer, here is a look at 12 prospects that the Vikings could have their eye on in that first round.

QB Jayden Daniels

Oct 21, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) celebrates a touchdown against the Army Black Knights during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU pipeline runs deep in Minnesota, and it very well could continue to flow in 2024. Jayden Daniels is one of the top QB prospects in this spring’s draft, and his combination of terrific arm strength and elite athletic ability makes him a very intriguing candidate to become the next Vikings quarterback.

Jayden Daniels scouting report

QB Drake Maye

Oct 28, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Drake Maye probably will be the second quarterback off the board after Caleb Williams, but if one of the Commanders or Patriots are intrigued by Daniels, and the other team selects a skill player like Marvin Harrison Jr., there is an outside chance that the Vikings could trade up to land the UNC quarterback. He is an NFL-ready QB at just 21 years old, so if Minnesota has a chance to trade up and select him, it should be a no-brainer.

Drake Maye scouting report

QB J.J. McCarthy

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

If the Vikings want to land a quarterback while also retaining Cousins for another year or two, J.J. McCarthy might be the most logical option. He just turned 21 years old, and while there is still plenty of room for him to grow, his mechanics and discipline as a passer suggest a player who could be very successful in the right NFL system.

J.J. McCarthy scouting report

QB Michael Penix

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

There is a lot of upside to Michael Penix, but there are a number of question marks as well. He has a long injury history, which derailed his collegiate career at Indiana before transferring to Washington, and he has a good bit of headway to make in his development. Still, he is an athletic quarterback with a rocket launcher for an arm. He very well could be in consideration for the Vikings in the first round, particularly if they decide to trade down.

Michael Penix scouting report

EDGE Dallas Turner

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

Dallas Turner will be in consideration for the first pass rusher to come off the board in April. He is extremely powerful, lightning quick off the line of scrimmage, and is just 21 years old. Turner has the potential to be a player that the Vikings can build their defense around for the next decade if they opt to select him.

EDGE Jared Verse

Oct 14, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Jared Verse (5) against the Syracuse Orange during the first half at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

There are few players at the EDGE spot in this draft as physically imposing as Jared Verse. He is built like a Greek god, and his explosion off the line of scrimmage leaves opposing offensive linemen struggling to catch up. While some of his technique could still use a little work, Verse’s athleticism gives him a very strong baseline.

Jared Verse scouting report

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

Laiatu Latu won’t blow anyone away with elite athleticism, but he is a very technically sound pass rusher. The UCLA product has multiple countermoves in his arsenal that always keeps blockers guessing, and he can be a productive player in run defense as well.

Laiatu Latu scouting report

DT Jer’Zhan Newton

Nov 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Jer’Zhan Newton (94) reacts to a missed stop in the third quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The best part of Jer’Zhan Newton’s game is his versatility, and this skillset is what ultimately should land him among the top defenders in the 2024 NFL Draft. The defensive tackle has an innate ability to impact the game both as a pass-rusher and run-stuffer because of his freakish athletic ability, but size and length could be a bit of a problem. With Minnesota’s needs at defensive tackle, there certainly is a chance that the Vikings have their eyes on him.

Jer’Zhan Newton scouting report

DT Byron Murphy

12 Prospects
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.

Byron Murphy is another incredible pass rushing presence at the defensive tackle position, piling up 45 pressures in 14 games for the Texas Longhorns this past season. He isn’t the most technically sound player at the defensive tackle spot, but he brings great athleticism and explosion at the position. He’s another defensive tackle to have eyes on in the first round.

CB Quinyon Mitchell

Dec 2, 2023; Detroit, MI, USA; Toledo Rockets cornerback Quinyon Mitchell (27) breaks up a pass intended for Miami (OH) Redhawks wide receiver Gage Larvadain (10) in the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

During last week’s Senior Bowl, there wasn’t a defensive player, and perhaps a player in general, that raised their draft stock more than Quinyon Mitchell. The Toledo cornerback already showcased elite coverage skills throughout his collegiate career, and then, he did so against some of the top wide receiver prospects in this draft class. The Vikings need a true CB1 in that room for next season, and Mitchell could be that.

Quinyon Mitchell scouting report

CB Terrion Arnold

Sep 23, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Terrion Arnold (3) carries the ball after an interception against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half of a football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Terrion Arnold actually began his Alabama career as a safety recruit, but his ascension at the cornerback position has been rapid. Arnold is a very physical player with the strength to dominate opposing wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and help in run support. Pair that with terrific athletic ability and fluid movements, and he should be a lock for the first round.

CB Nate Wiggins

Nov 25, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Nate Wiggins (2) smiles after breaking up a pass to South Carolina wide receiver Nyck Harbor (8) during the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Clemson won 16-7. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Wiggins battled through a bone bruise in his knee during the 2023 season, but he recovered to have a strong conclusion to his final year at Clemson. He has the most length among the trio of CBs mentioned on this list, which allows him to blanket receivers downfield. Wiggins could certainly fill Minnesota’s need for a true boundary cornerback.

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.