3 Clues from Vikings Brass about Draft

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have nine picks on April 25th during the 2024 NFL Draft, with roster needs consisting of quarterback, interior defensive line, and interior offensive line.

3 Clues from Vikings Brass about Draft

This year’s draft — especially Round 1 — is a supreme mystery for Vikings fans, who eagerly await the selection of the next quarterback after Kirk Cousins left in March.

Accordingly, to better shape your draft predictions, these are three clues from the Vikings’ leaders hinted at for the last few months. They’re ranked in order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

3. The Need for DT

Flores Flourish
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The draft evidently must be the apropos place for the Vikings’ three-technique DT of the future. Otherwise, they would’ve signed Christian Wilkins, Arik Armstead, Grover Stewart, D.J. Reader, or Leonard Williams, for example.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said last week about his team’s DT priority during free agency, “We made a run at some certain guys in free agency. In the end, we were okay with what we were able to add on the edges, and then you really supplement that defensive room with a lot of different skill sets.”

He also mentioned, “I think there’s going to be some really impactful options potentially there throughout the depth of the draft.”

This was a pretty bold hint that a rookie DT is coming to a Vikings roster near you.

2. Self-Described “Flexibility”

can grab momentum
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Vikings added an additional 1st-Rounder from the Texans, down the line, the organization claimed the move offered them flexibility.

Vikings owner Mark Wilf said about the team’s quarterback plan, “When it comes to the quarterback position, it’s certainly critical, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O’Connell are working hard. We’ve got a plan, and Sam Darnold is part of it. We’re excited he’s in the building, and we’re excited we have two first-round picks, so we’ll see where it all goes. We have a lot of flexibility, and we’ll see what happens.”

And before the Texans trade even came to fruition, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was asked if he was required to draft a quarterback next month. He replied to reporters, “No, I would not say that. As we enter this draft, we have the flexibility to go either way. The answer isn’t some strict thing.”

Flexibility provided by free agency; flexibility provided from the Texans trade.

Minnesota inked veteran quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million deal four weeks ago, and he’s the quintessential patchover quarterback option, assuming the Vikings would-be rookie passer isn’t ready for the bright lights of Week 1 in 2024.

Guess what Darnold provides? Flexibility.

Minnesota’s front office very vividly wants the league to know isn’t desperate to trade up the draftboard for a quarterback. We shall see if other general managers believe it.

1. The “Competitive Rebuild” Nearing Completion

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, along with head coach Kevin O’Connell, chatted with reporters in January at an end-of-season press conference, and the pair was asked where the team is right now in the competitive rebuild. The answer? The rebuild term could soon drop from the team’s mantra. With a productive offseason, Minnesota could be simply competitive by autumn.

“The point of that was to still provide ourselves a chance in the tournament every year while regaining financial flexibility, finding the next generation of great Vikings players, incorporating our systems that we value so much. I think when you look back at it, I think we’ve done a lot of positives. We gained some of our financial flexibility, we have competed to be in the tournament last year as the division champions, and this year, through adversity, we had a lot of meaningful games late,” Adofo-Mensah explained with O’Connell at his side.

He added, “And there are some things we need to be better at, no question. I think you want to get to a point, from a depth, from a top-end standpoint, where you can overcome the adversity. Right now in the competitive rebuild, we want to get to a place where there’s no rebuild. It’s just competitive in a window. And I think we’re close to that, it’s gonna take a big offseason, it’s why we’re gonna be here a lot. I think it’s important, it’s key, and I’m excited for the challenge.”

Probably in tandem with drafting the right quarterback of the future, Adofo-Mensah’s team-building strategy will reach a peak at the end of the month. If he did everything right or close to right, the competitive rebuild will be complete.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.