9 Players the Vikings Should Draft

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VikingsTerritory writers were asked to provide one single draft preference apiece for the Minnesota Vikings. They were instructed to choose a trade-up, trade back, or remain at the Nos. 11 and 23 spots. Writers were also advised not to be pigeonholed into a quarterback pick, as that’s all anyone really talks about regarding the Vikings.

Each writer somehow came up with a different selection — a totally random outcome.

9 Players the Vikings Should Draft

The NFL draft occurs on April 25th in Detroit, so 19 days away. The players are listed alphabetically, and writers didn’t limit themselves to Round 1 of the draft — hence the variety.

1. Braelon Allen (RB)

Replace Alexander Mattison
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver =
Dustin Baker

Drake Maye would be the pick here, but that’s relatively obvious as Vikings fans are fully immersed in “What will they do at quarterback?” mania. So, let’s be different.

Admittedly, Minnesota’s need to find a running back in the draft diminished when Aaron Jones signed in March.

But Allen is unbelievably young; the man turned 20 about 11 weeks ago. Twenty-year-old players in a draft are rare, especially at a high-profile position like a running back. With youth on his side, Allen is also huge. He’s 6’1″ and 240 pounds but runs a 4.40 forty. Pairing that bowling-ball stature with Aaron Jones + Ty Chandler, particularly around the goal line, would be fantastic for Minnesota. And, yes, that’s the same Vikings’ offense that didn’t score a rushing touchdown until Week 8 in 2023.

Let’s get the RB room stocked for several years with Allen in purple.

2. DeWayne Carter (DT)

Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver = Josh Frey

The Vikings’ main need outside the quarterback position comes at defensive tackle. Specifically, they could use another player to rush the passer from that spot. DeWayne Carter didn’t have as productive a season in 2023, but he piled up 10 sacks between 2021-2022.

3. Isaac Guerendo (RB)

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver = Janik Eckardt

At 6’0″ and 221 lbs, Isaac Guerendo possesses a prototypical running back frame. His combine performance, which included a 40-yard dash of 4.33 seconds and a 41.5-inch vertical jump, opened some eyes. Because of his physical tools, pass-catching skills, and ability to explode in zone schemes, he would be a wonderful addition to the overhauled running back room. 

4. Bucky Irving (RB)

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver =
Ted Schwerzler

If they can find a way to get him in the 3rd Round, Irving would be a nice complement to Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler. Minnesota’s lack of running back depth last season burned them. He could play a big role should Jones wind up hurt.

5. Drake Maye (QB)
North Carolina

purple rumor mill
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver = Cole Smith

I’m going with the low-hanging fruit and saying Drake Maye. The Vikings have plenty of ammunition to move up the draft board, so the expectation is that they will come away with either Maye or J.J. McCarthy. Give me Maye, who I believe has a higher upside and could be the franchise quarterback this team has desperately needed for years.

6. Luke McCaffrey (RB)

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver = Adam New

There is a good chance the Vikings will pick a quarterback in the 1st Round and not again until Day 3. One player I’ve become enamored with as a potential WR3 is Luke McCaffrey. A tall receiver who excels on deep routes from the slot, McCaffrey would be a great addition to the Vikings’ offense.

7. J.J. McCarthy (QB)

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.

Advice Giver = Ali Siddiqui

If they are able to move up to the #4 pick, then it should be JJ McCarthy. Trading up to the #3 pick for Drake Maye would very possibly require the 11th and 23rd picks, along with the first for next year. That would be too much.

If they cannot move up, Michael Penix Jr. should be the pick. McCarthy should be the pick if they can, though.

8. Will Reichard (K)

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver = Kyle Joudry

There is no way Minnesota is done at the pressure-packed position. Use one of those seven — yes, seven — Day 3 picks to scoop up a tremendous kicker and absolve the Daniel Carlson sin.

9. T’Vondre Sweat (DT)

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat (93) celebrates a defensive stop during the Big 12 Championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Arlington.

Advice Giver = Wes Johnson

Sweat is projected as a 2nd-Round pick, so the Vikings will likely need to move up to get him. However, the potential fit for the Vikings’ defensive front cannot be denied. The Vikings have lacked a true gap-swallowing NT since the departure of Linval Joseph. Plugging and stopping the run has been problematic in the past few years. Sweat will help fix that — immediately. The plan is simple: trade up for your QBOTF and your nose.

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.