Vikings Called “Top Fit” for One Popular Rookie

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The Minnesota Vikings own the 11th overall pick in April’s draft, and most of the team’s fans believe the capital will be used on a quarterback or defensive lineman.

Vikings Called “Top Fit” for One Popular Rookie

Minnesota’s top two free agents this cycle are quarterback Kirk Cousins and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter, so if one or both depart the franchise in three weeks, the Vikings must use the 1st-Round pick on a replacement.

Top Fit
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports.

And because of draft placement, plus the need for an EDGE defender, the Vikings are labeled a “top fit” for Florida State’s Jared Verse, at least according to Bleacher Report. Minnesota hasn’t used a 1st- or 2nd-Round draft pick on an EDGE rusher since 2005, meaning the time, indeed, could be now.

BR’s Ryan Fowler explained the Vikings-Verse angle last weekend, “The jury is still out on when exactly Jared Verse will hear his name called in April. It could be in the top 10 or top 20. While many teams continue to bounce back and forth in finalizing their evaluation of Verse, Minnesota could take him at No. 11 and see an immediate impact. With longtime 5-technique defender Danielle Hunter expected to explore free agency, awarding Verse with Hunter’s snaps would be a trade-off that should excite both Vikings faithful and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.”

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, IN. The Vikings finished 13-4 in the first year under Adofo-Mensah’s general management.

The Vikings entered the offseason with two EDGE rushers under contract: Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II. Neither is considered a startable option, at least not early in the 2024 offseason. Between Hunter, the Verse theory, and a free-agent addition, Minnesota must find at least two starting outside linebackers between now and April 27th.

Fowler added, “While teams like to deploy edge-rushers in coverage to offer an additional body in the fringe areas, allowing Verse to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback should be successful early on. A physically impressive talent who wins via a power-laden approach off the edge, Verse could be an excellent fit in defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ aggressive defensive architecture.”

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports.

Meanwhile, Verse to Minnesota is nothing new. It’s all over the place, in fact. ESPN’s Field Yates mock-drafted Verse to the Vikings just last week, and it was not a first-of-its-kind transaction. Think of it this way: if the Vikings don’t use their first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, whether organically at No. 11 or via trade, on a quarterback, Verse could rather realistically end up a Viking.

Josh Frey, editor of PurplePTSD, a sister-site to VikingsTerritoryrecently described Verse, “You won’t find too many pass rushers that surpass Verse in terms of athletic ability. He has it all. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage, can maneuver his way around blockers with ease, and his acceleration is impressive while in pursuit of ball carriers. Verse also has an incredible motor that allows him to wear down offensive lines over the course of a game. An example of this came against the Florida Gators where Verse recorded a pair of sacks and a forced fumble in the final minutes to help seal a win.”

The NFL Draft is 66 days away.

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).

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