Vikings UDFA Majesty Continues

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

They’ve done it again, and nobody really knows how.

Vikings UDFA Majesty Continues

Remember one year ago when the Minnesota Vikings grabbed linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. from the undrafted free-agent wire, everyone said, “This guy is going to be good,” and then the guy turned out to be good? That appears to be happening again, or at least the table is set for a similar outcome.

Minnesota General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media about the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft from the TCO Performance Center. The Vikings have long-term draft needs at quarterback, cornerback, and interior offensive line.

Minutes after the 2024 NFL Draft concluded, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah hit the phones and signed a mammoth UDFA class, onboarding 17 new players for the 2024 season. These are the UDFA newcomers:

  • Matt Cindric (OL)
  • K.J. Cloyd (LB)
  • Jeremy Flax (OL)
  • Dallas Gant (LB)
  • Devron Harper (WR)
  • Ty James (WR)
  • Jeshaun Jones (WR)
  • Trey Knox (TE)
  • Tyler Manoa (DL)
  • Donovan Manuel (LB)
  • Dwight McGlothern (CB)
  • Gabriel Murphy (OLB)
  • Doug Nester (OL)
  • Owen Porter (OLB)
  • Bo Richter (OLB)
  • Spencer Rolland (OL)
  • Taki Taimani (DL)

And for curious minds, this is the regular draft class:

  • R1: J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
  • R1: Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)
  • R4: Khyree Jackson (CB, Oregon)
  • R6: Walter Rouse (OT, Oklahoma)
  • R6: Will Reichard (K, Alabama)
  • R7: Michael Jurgens (C, Wake Forest)
  • R7: Levi Drake Rodriguez (DT, Texas A&M University-Commerce)

Yes, that’s 24 new players in three days, as Minnesota constructs a 90-man roster heading into the summer. Of course, the depth chart will dwindle to 53 players near the end of August, but for now, it’s a large summer tryout and party.

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In 2022, Minnesota netted a then-big fish in Luiji Vilain via undrafted free agency. He stayed on the purple roster for a year and a half before the Carolina Panthers stole him from the practice squad in 2023. One year later, Adofo-Mensah plucked the aforementioned Pace Jr., and he became a starter out of the gate in Year No. 1 and is on deck for the same job this fall.

Now, all eyes turn to three UDFAs in particular: Gabriel Murphy (OLB), Dwight McGlothern (CB), and Ty James (WR). Murphy is exactly like Pace Jr. — general managers evidently believe he’s too small for the EDGE spot or not strong enough for sustainability. Still, he was supposed to go off the draftboard sometime in the middle rounds last week.

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McGlothern was somewhat similar in that he was speculated as a mid-to-late-round pick. No cigar. His scouting report claims he might be too penalty-prone to last in the big leagues. Stay tuned. And James, a small-school wideout (Mercer), was ultra-productive in college. He simply didn’t get much notoriety as a Mercer alumnus.

It is unclear how this brand of Vikings leadership always finds the best UDFAs. On paper, however, it has happened again, especially with Murphy and McGlothern.

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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