Top 3 Draft Needs Take Shape for Vikings

Top Fit
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports.

In about five months, the Minnesota Vikings will step up to the plate on draft night with nine selections and fortify the roster for 2024 and beyond.

Top 3 Draft Needs Take Shape for Vikings

For now, the franchise has a 1st-Round pick, a 2nd-Rounder, two 4th-Round selections, two 5ths, two 6ths, and a 7th-Rounder.

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Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon chats with Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during practice in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

There is no 3rd-Rounder because of the 2022 trade for tight end T.J. Hockenson. Minnesota has an extra 4th-Rounder as part of that deal.

And while the regular season has six games remaining and the Vikings are in the driver’s seat for a wildcard playoff berth, the organization has three crystal-clear draft needs. These are those ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

3. Running Back

Top 3 Draft Needs
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Under Contract in 2024:
Ty Chandler
Alexander Mattison

Kene Nwangwu
DeWayne McBride

By sheer volume, the Vikings are actually all set at this depth chart spot. However, based on the 2023 rushing performance to date, Minnesota may want some oomph in the RB room, perhaps a shiny rookie runner from Rounds 2 or 3.

Very few running backs fly off the board in Round 1 anymore, but you should expect Vikings fans to stuff their mock drafts with an RB on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Candidates:
TreVeyon Henderson (Ohio State)
Blake Corum (Michigan)
Trey Benson (Florida State)
Bucky Irving (Oregon)
Will Shipley (Clemson)
Braelon Allen (Wisconsin)

2. EDGE Rusher

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

Under Contract in 2024:
Andre Carter
Patrick Jones

This could arguably live at No. 1 on the list, especially if the Vikings retain Kirk Cousins or Joshua Dobbs at QB1 in 2024.

Of course, Minnesota could ease the pain at EDGE by re-signing Danielle Hunter, who said last summer that he wanted to be a Viking forever. If general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opts out of the plan, though, he’ll need two starting EDGE rushers from free agency or the draft.

And, let’s face it — the Vikings haven’t drafted an EDGE with 1st- or 2nd-Round draft capital since 2005. It’s time.

Candidates:
Chop Robinson (Penn St.)
Bralen Trice (Washington)
Dallas Turner (Alabama)
Jared Verse (Florida State)
JT Tuimoloau (Ohio State)
Kris Jenkins (Michigan)

1. Quarterback

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Under Contract in 2024:
Jaren Hall
Nick Mullens

Minnesota’s most likely scenario for 2024 is to retain Kirk Cousins on a short-term deal while drafting “the next guy” with 1st- or 2nd-Round draft capital. The team could also do this with Joshua Dobbs, depending on the outcome of this season.

Cousins will turn 36 next season, fresh off a serious injury with an Achilles tear. Some Vikings fans — well, many — wanted the club to choose a quarterback with high-round draft capital last year, like Will Levis or Hendon Hooker. But they waited until Round 5 for Jaren Hall.

Sooner or later, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell will want their young quarterback to groom for the future. In Adofo-Mensah’s third draft, the time is probably now.

*Candidates:
Bo Nix (Oregon)
Jayden Daniels (LSU)
Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
J.J. McCarthy (Michigan)
Quinn Ewers (Texas)
*assuming Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are not available


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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