Vikings Draft Picks Share a Sweet Little Detail

Vikings Is Sweet
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

It has been a tumultuous offseason for the Minnesota Vikings. First, franchise cornerstones Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter exited the organization, and then general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added some significant contributors. Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel are supposed to rush the passer on defense, while running back Aaron Jones was signed to improve the flawed rushing attack.

Vikings Draft Picks Share a Sweet Little Detail

Vikings Draft Picks Share a Sweet Little Detail
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Like every offseason, this one peaked on draft day. Everyone knew the Vikings needed a quarterback, especially when they traded for the 23rd overall pick to sweeten potential trade offers; the plan was obvious.

However, Adofo-Mensah didn’t sell the metaphorical farm to trade into the top five to select a passer. Instead, he called the bluffs and stayed calm, ultimately only swapping a couple of picks to climb one spot to pick Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy tenth overall.

Roughly an hour later, Dallas Turner, Alabama’s pass-rusher, was a surprise addition. Adofo-Mensah packaged pick 23 and a bunch of other selections in 2024 and 2025 to ascend to 17 and acquire help for defensive coordinator Brian Flores and his unit. Most expected the Vikings to draft only once in the top round, but they indeed added two promising talents.

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Both Turner and McCarthy shared the spotlight in college football, a logical consequence of wearing the uniforms of Alabama and Michigan. Games are guaranteed to be played under bright lights and on national television.

But that’s not even the best detail of the two newest Vikings. Both McCarthy and Turner are 21 years old. Just like last year when Adofo-Mensah chose Jordan Addison, who had just turned 21 before his draft day, Adofo-Mensah added two of the youngest players in the entire draft.

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The passer celebrated his birthday on January 20, while the defender had to wait two weeks longer. He turned 21 on February 2.

That young age brings various advantages. Of course, younger prospects have more potential, at least on paper. Because they haven’t had as much time to work on their craft as 24-year-olds and have more room to grow physically, there should be some additional untapped potential.

Another factor is that they have more time to play football if they work out. Following their rookie contracts and the fifth-year option, the duo would enter the second contract at age 26, still in their prime. The 24-year-old would be 29, closer to the end of his physical prime. And if Turner and McCarthy develop well and are career Vikings, they could easily spend ten to fifteen years in purple.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

All of those benefits are moot if they can’t live up to their draft stock. Identifying good players is still the most critical factor; age, among other factors, is secondary, although still a nice add and certainly part of the evaluation.

McCarthy offers above-average arm talent, a background that features winning on the highest stage, and excellent mobility. While he might not take the league by storm in 2024, he has all the tools to be the long-term answer behind Minnesota’s center.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Turner possesses electric athletic tools and is a wonderful pass-rusher and run-stopper. Like McCarthy, it could take some time to refine his technique, but he has the tools to become one of the elite players in his position.

The coaching staff must now take advantage of the opportunity and develop those two intriguing prospects into the much-needed franchise cornerstones. At age 21, they have considerable time to become their best versions.

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