ESPN Reveals Mini-Bombshell from Vikings Draft

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For weeks and months, folks expected the Minnesota Vikings to swing a monumental trade up the board for a quarterback of the future in last week’s draft.

ESPN Reveals Mini-Bombshell from Vikings Draft

Former QB1 Kirk Cousins departed for the Atlanta Falcons seven weeks ago, and the franchise needed to find his replacement. Nearly everyone identified the New England Patriots as a sensible trade partner, though the cost of such a deal turned out too expensive.

qb prospects
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So, Minnesota used Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select quarterback J.J. McCarthy of Michigan and outside linebacker Dallas Turner from Alabama. Virtually no Vikings fan believed both men were attainable, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was expected to trade his 1st-Round assets for a quarterback of the future.

But on draft night, McCarthy slid to pick No. 10, where the young executive pulled the trigger on a trade with the New York Jets — while keeping his 23rd overall pick in-house. He then picked Turner after an expensive trade to the 17th spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

And here’s the bizarre part: according to ESPN, Adofo-Mensah actually entertained selecting a defensive player — Dallas Turner — first on draft night before solving the quarterback question.

Vikings Draft
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“In explaining his decisions last weekend, Adofo-Mensah made two primary points. First, he said that while ‘you never want to give up future picks,’ sometimes there is a player within reach who is too much of an ‘outlier.’ Adofo-Mensah, in fact, had briefly considered taking Turner with his first pick in the round and then circling back to maneuver for a quarterback,” ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote this week.

That tidbit is stunning because it implies that Minnesota would’ve been content with Oregon’s Bo Nix as the QB1 solution or frisky enough to hope McCarthy slid further than the Denver Broncos at pick No. 12 or the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 13.

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Seifert added, “Doing so, he said, would have been ‘all just ego.’ Ultimately, the Vikings stayed disciplined enough in their quarterback search to wait for McCarthy first and then poured their leftover draft capital into acquiring Turner. Accounting for the original trade in March to acquire the No. 23 overall pick, and then the deal they made with the Jacksonville Jaguars to move to No. 17, they used the equivalent of two mid-first-round picks to get Turner, according to ESPN Analytics.”

The Turner-first mini-bombshell was revealed after some credible reporting suggested the Vikings also had Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. somewhat close on the draftboard to McCarthy. Penix Jr., though, was strangely chosen by the Falcons — Cousins’ new team — at pick No. 8

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The takeaway? Minnesota wasn’t too terribly far from Nix as the quarterback of the future, especially if Adofo-Mensah was serious about Turner with the 11th pick.

Vikings mandatory minicamp begins in 33 days.

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