Dustin Baker’s Predictive Mock Draft for Vikings | 2024

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings possess nine picks heading into the 2024 NFL Draft, mostly weighted on the back end in later rounds.

Minnesota needs a quarterback after Kirk Cousins skedaddled in March, and most expect Adofo-Mensah to trade up in the draft for a Top 4 prospect.

Dustin Baker’s Predictive Mock Draft for Vikings | 2024

So, here’s the best stab at a predictive mock draft for the 2024 Vikings. One trade was made with the New England Patriots.

Trade: The Vikings send the 11th pick, 23rd pick, a 2025 1st-Rounder, and a 2026 2nd-Rounder to the Patriots for the 3rd overall pick and a 2024 3rd-Rounder (68th overall).

Round 1: Drake Maye (QB)

Mock Draft
Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports.

Pick Number = 3rd
College = North Carolina

It was agony deciding between Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy on this one from a predictive standpoint.

But due to the Josh McCown angle — he’s the Vikings new quarterback coach who just so happened to mentor Maye in high school — plus Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s knack for progressive thinking, Maye is the prediction, with 50.1% confidence to McCarthy at 49.9%

This is it. The Vikings make their big splash during life after Cousins, trading up the draftboard for Maye.

Round 4: Maason Smith (DT)

Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

Pick Number = 108
College = LSU

Minnesota spent a Top 30 visit on this man, a reasonable indicator it could select him in one week. Plus, the Vikings need a defensive tackle once and for all after failing to sign a big-name free agent at the position last month.

Insert Maason Smith.

PurplePTSD‘s Josh Frey wrote about Smith this week, ‘Smith has all the physical tools as an NFL prospect. He is a massive player at 6’5″ and 301 pounds with 35-inch arms, allowing him to use his length and strong hands to create leverage in the trenches.”

Round 4: Jamari Thrash (WR)

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Pick Number = 129th
College = Louisville

Unless the purple team loves Brandon Powell, Jalen Nailor, or Trent Sherfield at WR3, the Vikings need a rookie candidate in the pipeline. That can be Thrash.

VikingTerritory’s Janik Eckardt described Thrash this week: “Compared to some of the previously mentioned players, Jamari Thrash can play inside and outside. He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and can win over the top as a deep threat. After four years at Georgia State, with an excellent fourth season (1,122 yards and seven TDs), Thrash transferred to Louisville, where he confirmed that he isn’t a product of subpar competition and can play at the Power-5 level. In his lone campaign in the ACC, he caught 63 passes for 858 yards and six scores.”

Round 5: Zak Zinter (OG)

Michigan offensive lineman Zak Zinter (65) watches warm-up ahead of the Rose Bowl game against Alabama at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Pick Number = 157th
College = Michigan

Until a month ago, most Vikings fans considered Blake Brandel a reservist commodity, but after signing a three-year, $9.5 million contract, he could be on deck as Dalton Risner’s replacement and on his way to a starter’s job.

Yet, Zinter’s upside could mesh long-term for Minnesota, especially if Brandel doesn’t pan out as a trustworthy starter. In fact, an injury last year has driven him down this far in the draft.

Round 5: Isaac Guerendo (RB)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Pick Number = 167th
College = Louisville

Aaron Jones loosened the Vikings’ urgency for a running back fix, but he’s only scheduled to be in town for a year. He’ll also turn 30 in December. So, let’s go Guerendo here for long-term RB depth.

The aforementioned Eckardt recently wrote about Guerendo, “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.”

Round 6: Josh Newton (CB)

TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Josh Newton (2) celebrates a thread down stop against Texas Longhorns running back CJ Baxter (4) late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, November. 11, 2023, at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. © Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Pick Number = 177th
College = TCU

These are the Vikings’ cornerbacks heading into the draft:

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Akayleb Evans
CB3: Mekhi Blackmon
CB4: Shaquill Griffin
CB5: Andrew Booth
CB6: NaJee Thompson
CB7: Jaylin Williams
CB8: Joejuan Williams
CB9: A.J. Green III

A former wide receiver, Newton must refine his man coverage at the NFL level, but he’s a decent stash-and-develop option in this year’s draft. Too, Adofo-Mensah has shown during his purple tenure that he’s intrigued by TCU alumni.

Round 7: Dylan McMahon (C)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Pick Number = 230th
College = North Carolina State

A dartboard toss this late in the draft, Minnesota explores McMahon here for depth after Austin Schlottmann signed with the New York Giants.

Round 7: Jalen Sundell (OT)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Pick Number = 232nd
College = North Dakota State

This somewhat local pick adds up because Minnesota has only three left tackles on the roster: Christian Darrisaw, Brian O’Neill, and David Quessenberry. Out of sheer necessity for depth, Adofo-Mensah will find a tackle or two from the draft or undrafted free agency.

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.