ESPN’s Official Mock Draft Pick for Vikings

NFL Draft 2024 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Minnesota Vikings will probably draft a quarterback during the NFL draft in 17 days, and they’ll probably implement a trade up the board to do it.

ESPN’s Official Mock Draft Pick for Vikings

ESPN just so happens to agree with the theory, a speculative what-if festival since Minnesota pulled off a trade on March 15th, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. Aside from the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, the purple team has more 1st-Round ammunition than any team.

Mock Draft
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to ESPN’s Matt Miller, that draft gunpowder will be used to trade up the board with the Arizona Cardinals, where Minnesota will select Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

Miller explained, “I’m projecting the Vikings to move up to get their QB, sending pick Nos. 11 and 23 and an additional 2025 first-rounder to the Cardinals for the No. 4 selection. Kirk Cousins has gone to Atlanta, and Sam Darnold is currently the QB1. Minnesota has to act.”

Offseason Is Different
Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Per sportsbooks, the Vikings are the favorites among all NFL teams to choose McCarthy (+100), so Miller’s mock draft theory checks out.

“McCarthy (No. 22 on my board) would be entering the best situation for any of the rookie quarterbacks. The Vikings have a former NFL quarterback as their coach in Kevin O’Connell and an elite wide receiver duo of Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison — not to mention a great tackle combination of Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill. McCarthy’s accuracy, toughness and pocket mobility have him set up to perform well in this structure right out of the gate. And he knows how to win games; he went 27-1 at Michigan and won a national title. With McCarthy captaining this offense, the Vikings would have legitimate playoff aspirations in the NFC North,” Miller continued.

Vikings Draft
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

McCarthy just turned 21 in January and checked in at 6’3″ + 219 pounds at the NFL Combine. He’s mobile, can make all the throws necessary to succeed in the NFL, and helped Michigan win a National Championship. He’s been all the rage for Vikings fans in the last two months.

Miller concluded about McCarthy in purple, “That said, Michigan’s offense was very run-heavy, and McCarthy had the fewest passing attempts last season (332) of any QB projected to be selected in the top three rounds of this year’s draft. The Vikings’ scheme would be a good fit for McCarthy, given his touch and timing traits from within the pocket, but as a 28-game starter in college, he might benefit from sitting behind Darnold for at least part of his rookie season.”

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports | Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) celebrates after winning 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game against the Washington Huskies at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s worth noting that ESPN’s mock isn’t unique. For most mock draft outfits, Minnesota seems to have a binary choice between trading up the board for McCarthy or North Carolina’s Drake Maye. A few mocks link the Vikings to Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., though a splashy trade likely won’t be required for that plan.

Minnesota hasn’t used Round 1 or 2 draft capital on a quarterback since Teddy Bridgewater — 10 years ago.


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 MIN 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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