5 Vikings Takeaways from the 2024 NFL Draft

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The Minnesota Vikings watched as 16 veterans departed the organization this offseason, 14 came aboard, seven rookies were drafted, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added 17 undrafted free agents after the draft.

5 Vikings Takeaways from the 2024 NFL Draft

The team finished 7-10 in 2023 and will hope to improve on that mark with some combination of Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy at quarterback.

In the draft, Minnesota added these players:

  • 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)

And these are the five major takeaways from the draft, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. Kicker Battle on the Way

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In March, Minnesota signed XFL standout Parker Romo for kicking responsibilities, but on Saturday afternoon, he became the underdog to win the job in 2024.

Draft heads considered Will Reichard the top kicker in this class, and with that established, Romo is almost guaranteed not to make the final roster this summer. He’ll compete, though. Think of it this way: it would be pretty pathetic for Reichard not to win the job.

4. No WR3 in Waiting

Vikings 8 New
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

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. If one must play the “blame game,” cite the trade for Dallas Turner here — that wiped away the draft capital needed to find a rookie pass-catcher.

Thankfully, Minnesota can scour the free-agent wire for a WR3 if it’s in the mood.

3. Sacrificing Mid- and Late-Round Draft Capital

Judgment Day
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The New England Patriots reportedly wanted four 1st-Rounders for trade up to No. 3, and that was too rich for Adofo-Mensah. There had to be a limit to the madness, and three 1st-Round picks were evidently the cutoff.

The young GM was willing to spend oodles of non-1st-Rounders, but the priority was to retain the 1st-Round capital. That was noteworthy because fans spent about 3-4 months wondering if Adofo-Mensah would trade the farm for Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. The answer was no.

This is how the trades shook down:

Minnesota Got:
J.J. McCarthy
Dallas Turner
6th-Rounder (2024)
7th-Rounder (2024)

Minnesota Gave:
No. 11
2nd-Rounder (2024)
2nd-Rounder (2025)
3rd-Rounder (2025)
4th-Rounder (2024)
4th-Rounder (2025)
5th-Rounder (2024)
5th-Rounder (2024)
6th-Rounder (2024)

2. Unexpected Defensive Cornerstone

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Nobody anywhere believed Minnesota would strut out of the draft with J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner. It was supposed to be one or the other.

Yet, an unprecedented run on offensive players created a draft-night plunge for Turner, where he fell into Minnesota’s lap. The timing was wondrous, as Danielle Hunter just exited stage left six weeks ago. If Turner lives up to this scouting report, he’ll anchor one side of the Vikings’ defensive line for 5-10 years.

1. Vikings Got Their Guy

Vikings QB
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) takes a moment to watch TCU celebrate after Michigan lost, 51-45, at the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

From the moment Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles last October, all eyes turned to the “next guy” at quarterback and that man’s identity.

After six months of fans’ contemplation, that will be J.J. McCarthy, who Minnesota grabbed by moving up the draftboard just one spot. The man just turned 21 in January, about as young as it gets for a rookie quarterback.

McCarthy has a chance to nail down the Vikings QB1 job for longer than 5.5 seasons. It would be the first time since Tommy Kramer or Fran Tarkenton — choose your fighter in the debate.

This. Is. It. The Minnesota Vikings identified and drafted their quarterback for life after Kirk Cousins. A faction of Vikings fans had asked for this for a half-decade. The wish was granted, and the time has arrived.

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, Basset Hounds, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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