ESPN Drops Sour New Twist for Vikings in Latest Mock Draft

NFL Draft 2024 in Detroit, Michigan.

Think you’ve heard it all regarding the Minnesota Vikings 2024 draft possibilities? Not quite yet.

ESPN Drops Sour New Twist for Vikings in Latest Mock Draft

Most mock drafts envision Minnesota conducting some type of secondary trade for a quarterback between now and April 25 after general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled the trigger on a deal about three weeks ago, grabbing an additional 1st-Round pick from the Houston Texans while offloading two 2nd-Rounders in the deal, plus a late-round pick swap.

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Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

ESPN’s latest mock draft is no different — but there’s a catch. Field Yates predicted Minnesota doing business with the Los Angeles Chargers and the No. 5 pick but sending three 1st-Rounders for the prize, J.J. McCarthy.

Until Wednesday, three 1st-Round picks were reserved for transacting with the New England Patriots, for example, a club holding the third overall pick. Spending that much capital is new — three 1st-Rounders for the fifth overall pick is quite outrageous.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Yates explained, “Three quarterbacks are already off the board, and Minnesota has a big hole there after Kirk Cousins signed elsewhere in March. So I have the Vikings sending Nos. 11 and 23 this year and an additional 2025 first-rounder to the Chargers to move up to No. 5 overall for the class’ QB4. Los Angeles, meanwhile, picks up valuable assets to build its roster back up.”

On the whole, the only item that really matters about the incoming purple trade — with any team — is the quarterback ending up productive in the NFL. If that guy is a decade-long starter, nobody will care how much the trade cost in hindsight. Yet, three 1st-Rounders for the Chargers’ pick shatters all trade calculator norms.

Vikings Should Look
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yates then connected McCarthy to Minnesota with the fifth pick: “Minnesota would be betting on McCarthy’s combination of very good ball placement and mobility helping him become its long-term answer, with Sam Darnold in tow for 2024 if McCarthy needs time to get his feet wet. The supporting cast in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and an elite offensive tackle duo give him a shot for serious early success. McCarthy completed 72.3% of his passes and threw only four interceptions last season.”

Sportsbooks believe McCarthy will likely become a Viking in 2024 and beyond, listing Minnesota with a +100 moneyline for his services. McCarthy met with the Vikings at the 2024 NFL Combine and said about the meeting, “Coach O’Connell led the whole thing. Everything they talked about wanting out of a QB aligns with what I want. Just being able to get on the board with them, go through their plays, it was special.”

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

A 6’3″ and 220-pounder, McCarthy turned 21 in January, so he’s extremely young, especially by recent draft class’ standards. He can make all throws necessary in an NFL offense, with a caveat hesitation on his deep-ball acumen. Michigan didn’t ask McCarthy to throw deep outside the numbers too often, so his new NFL team will have to develop the skill or hope Michigan simply didn’t use it.

McCarthy as a Viking would certainly generate excitement; it’s just that three 1st-Round picks for the fifth overall pick is exorbitant and new to the Vikings’ draft cycle.

The draft is 22 days away.


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.

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