3 Biggest Storylines for Vikings after Draft

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The Minnesota Vikings navigated Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s third draft over the last few days, leaving the event with seven new players and a slew of undrafted free agents.

3 Biggest Storylines for Vikings after Draft

Now, the offseason resumes as several free agents remain available on the open market, and training camp begins in a couple of months.

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These are the five biggest questions facing Minnesota, following a draft that answered a few. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = top storyline).

3. Is It Blake Brandel at Left Guard after All?

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Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah re-upped with Brandel in March for three years and $9.5 million, a contract suggesting a starter’s trajectory. The man didn’t totally break the bank, but the dollars and years were noteworthy.

And without Dalton Risner on the roster — he remains an unsigned free agent — all signs point to Brandel as the 2024 starter at left guard. Minnesota also didn’t add any high-profile offensive guards in the draft, instead onboarding a couple of undrafted free agents at the spot.

Barring a free-agent signing, it feels like Brandel is a starting guard for the 2024 Vikings. We shall see if that holds. Re-signing Risner would immediately end this storyline. Stay tuned.

2. Who’s the WR3?

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The Vikings can scour the free-agent wire for a WR3 if it’s in the mood for one.

Unless Minnesota signs a free agent like Tyler Boyd, Hunter Renfrow, or DJ Chark, the 2024 WR3 will be Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield, or Jalen Nailor. Adofo-Mensah added zero WR3 candidates in a draft deep with WR3 candidates.

Powell would likely grab the WR3 job if the season began tomorrow, but four-plus months remain in the offseason. On the whole, fans will wonder all spring and summer who will play WR3. It’s especially a valid question because tight end T.J. Hockenson, a target fiend, probably won’t be ready by Week 1.

1. Which Man Will Start Week 1 at QB?

Vikings Top Draft Target
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Sam Darnold has the advantage because Minnesota won’t want to rush McCarthy into anything, but there’s a small chance that McCarthy will emerge quickly as QB1. One of the bright spots about his draft profile was game-readiness. Drake Maye, for example, should probably sit and learn for a year. That wasn’t necessarily the case for McCarthy.

In short order, Vikings fans will divide along fault lines, two camps preaching, “Play McCarthy!” and “Let him watch and learn for a year because that’s how the Packers and Chiefs do it!”

Get ready. That loud and massive storyline is coming.

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.