Dustin Baker’s Draft Predictions for Vikings | 2024

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Folks, we’re less than five days away from the 2024 NFL Draft, where the Minnesota Vikings will add about 8-9 players, probably headlined by a quarterback.

The Vikings have long-term roster needs at quarterback, interior defensive line, and interior offensive line, while cornerback or WR3 could also use some love.

Dustin Baker’s Draft Predictions for Vikings | 2024

Last year’s draft predictions were a mixed bag, and those can be read here. The 2022 draft’s were mostly successful and are filed here.

Here are five more for 2024, ranked in no particular order.

1. Vikings Indeed Trade Up the Board for a QB

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

This is the Vikings’ one big chance. Plain and simple. Kirk Cousins is gone, the budget is wide open to fortify a roster around a rookie quarterback, the current regime will take a stab at a rookie quarterback in Year No. 3 on the job, and this rookie quarterback class is deep.

Doing business with the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, or Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota will trade into the Top 5 and select Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy.

2. Defensive Tackle Is a Priority

Draft Predictions
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports.

All of these DTs were available in free agency:

  • Arik Armstead
  • Javon Kinlaw
  • Sheldon Rankins
  • D.J. Reader
  • Grover Stewart
  • Christian Wilkins
  • Leonard Williams

The Vikings signed none.

Then, last month, Kevin O’Connell said about his team’s DT priority, “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 added, “I think there’s going to be some really impactful options potentially there throughout the depth of the draft.”

The Vikings will draft a defensive tackle with promising upside.

3. WR3 Candidate Found

Louisville’s Jamari Thrash scores a touchdown against Notre Dame game at L & N Stadium. Oct. 7, 2023. © Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Sure, Jalen Nailor, Trent Sherfield, or Brandon Powell could play WR3 in a pinch — especially when T.J. Hockenson is on the field hogging targets — but none of those men are battle-tested WR3s.

So, Minnesota will draft one next Saturday, probably a player like Jamari Thrash, Javon Baker, or Luke McCaffrey. The franchise needs a developmental WR3 type after K.J. Osborn vamoosed to the New England Patriots.

4. Vikings Grab a Kicker in Draft or from UDFA

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Per O’Connell, an extra kicker could be on the way via the draft or undrafted free agency.

“It’s a pretty easy evaluation when you put one or two guys competing against each other, possibly more, where you can put them in tougher situations, high-pressure situations, even in front of a training camp crowd or their teammates in the spring with some circumstances on making a kick or missing a kick and you can really start to see how guys respond,” O’Connell told reporters this week.

The young head coach continued, “I do want to have a competitive situation. I just think with how close games are in this league, and I know everybody loves going for fourth-down conversions as much as possible, but points are still a very, very important metric in a league as competitive as ours, and any time you can feel confident putting someone out there and knowing they’re going to ring the bell and get you three points that could be the difference in the game, I think it’s critical.”

Minnesota will add another kicker before the end of next weekend. Book it.

5. At Least 2 Offensive Linemen Selected

Face Tough
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings currently have nine offensive linemen on their roster. During training camp last summer, they had 16. If you haven’t finalized your mock drafts yet, you better add some offensive linemen.

Minnesota will welcome 3-5 men to the offensive trenches next weekend between the draft and undrafted free agency. Let’s go with two during the draft, likely on Day No. 3.

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.