5 Biggest Vikings Losers of the Draft

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The Minnesota Vikings finalized their 2024 draft class on Saturday. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah acquired seven new players in exchange for draft picks and 17 undrafted rookies. Highlighting the draft class are undoubtedly first-rounders J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner, who have a chance to be franchise cornerstones.

5 Biggest Vikings Losers of the Draft

Whenever new players arrive on the roster, some of the remaining players lose their spots or chances to earn a job.

Sam Darnold

5 Biggest Vikings Losers of the Draft
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Darnold was never expected to be the long-term solution at the quarterback position. Still, there was a world in which the Vikings failed to land a passer in the first round. Darnold kept his job for the entire year with the opportunity to produce a full season in Minnesota’s electric offensive surroundings.

McCarthy will likely rival Darnold in training camp, and he will be a threat early in the season because he is already a pro-ready quarterback. While other prospects, especially Drake Maye, must refine some technical issues, Minnesota’s rookie needs reps to grow rather than improve his fundamentals on the practice field.

The veteran should still be considered the favorite to take the first snap in September’s season-opener, but it can be doubted that the Vikes envision him as QB1 for the entire season.

Patrick Jones

The pass rusher has a terrible offseason, and it hasn’t been his fault. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores watched his top three pass-rushers exit the building in March. With Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and D.J. Wonnum gone, remaining fourth-year player Patrick Jones would surely step into an increased role.

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However, the Vikings added Andrew Van Ginkel, Jonathan Greenard, and backup Jihad Ward in free agency. Then, the decision-makers traded up for Turner, who will immediately enter the rotation. Undrafted rookie Gabriel Murphy and last year’s UDFA Andre Carter are also talented players who could threaten his job.

Jones went from a potential second or third pass-rusher to a candidate for losing his job when the rosters are trimmed down to 53 players.

John Parker Romo

When the Vikings let Greg Joseph walk in free agency and signed former XFL kicker John Parker Romo, the 26-year-old was viewed as the starter simply because he was the only kicker on the team. Adofo-Mensah changed that on Saturday when he added Alabama’s Will Reichard in round six of the draft to kick off a run on kickers.

New Vikings Kicker
Detroit Lions placekicker John Parker Romo (24) watches practice during OTAs at Detroit Lions headquarters in Allen Park on Thursday, June 1, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Reichard is the NCAA’s all-time leader in points scored, and it is automatic from short distances while also hitting 10 of 13 field goals from at least 50 yards. Technically, there will be a competition, but considering the draft pick the Vikings spent on Reichard, it is hard to envision them sticking with Romo over him. Romo’s selling point is his superior leg strength.

Andrew Booth/Akayleb Evans

Once cutdown day arrives, the cornerback position will be a numbers game. Minnesota now employs many prominent players after selecting fourth-rounder Khyree Jackson.

Byron Murphy and veteran signing Shaquill Griffin will each receive a roster spot because they are reliable veterans and should be favored to start. Last year’s third-rounder, Mekhi Blackmon, is the third guy, and fourth-rounders like Jackson rarely get cut immediately. That makes four players. In 2023, the Vikings kept only four cornerbacks; five is typical. Special teamer NaJee Thompson shouldn’t be counted here, although he is technically a cornerback.

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So, only one spot will remain for 2022 draft picks Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans. Evans started in 2023 but struggled late in the season. Flores benched him multiple times. Booth has shown flashes of promising play and is a former highly-touted second-rounder, but he was stuck in the rotation behind Evans. It should be noted that Flores hadn’t been around when the two were selected in 2022, but he handpicked the other four guys.

The competition for the CB position will be fascinating to watch once the training camp arrives, as both the starting roles and the roster spots are unknown.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt