Final Mock Draft Is Holy Grail for Some Vikings Fans

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.

The last few months of the Minnesota Vikings offseason have evolved into “picking a side” between Team Maye and Team McCarthy.

Final Mock Draft Is Holy Grail for Some Vikings Fans

That is — Drake Maye of North Carolina and J.J. McCarthy from Michigan, the two likeliest quarterbacks to lead the Vikings during life after Kirk Cousins. The good news is that everyone will get a verdict on Thursday night.

mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) warms up before Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Left up to, though, McCarthy will lead Minnesota into the future, miraculously falling to Minnesota at pick No. 11. For weeks, if not months, purple and gold fans have accepted that grabbing McCarthy in the draft would require a trade up the board.

But not according to Daniel Jeremiah. McCarthy fell to Minnesota organically at No. 11, and he explained, “I wouldn’t rule out Minnesota trading up a couple of spots for a quarterback, but all the information I’ve gathered in the last couple of days suggests the Vikings are not crazy about making a bold move up the board for McCarthy. I believe they’ve grown more comfortable with Michael Penix Jr. as a fallback option if a team were to leapfrog them for McCarthy.”

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Fans endlessly debated the pros and cons of “trading the farm” for Maye or McCarthy, and Jeremiah’s final theory would render that discussion moot. Minnesota would even hang onto next year’s 1st-Rounder, a hot-button topic on Vikings-themed social media.

And it gets better, per Jeremiah.

At pick No. 23 — because no trade for McCarthy was needed — Jeremiah chose Penn State EDGE rusher Chop Robinson for Minnesota. He wrote, “Robinson is a dynamic edge rusher who fills a need for Minnesota.”

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports.

Robinson’s stock has soared since the NFL Combine, so much so that the draft community has wiggled him into the end of Round 1. His athleticism is off the charts, and with Danielle Hunter gone from Minnesota’s roster, Robinson could eventually develop into a keynote defender.

Other notable quarterback aspects of Jeremiah’s mock draft included Michael Penix Jr. to the Las Vegas Raiders and Bo Nix to the Denver Broncos after George Paton’s trade back. The top of the draftboard was somewhat predictable: Caleb Williams to the Chicago Bears, Jayden Daniels to the Washington Commanders, and Drake Maye to the New England Patriots.

Rookie QB
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Vikings fans, too, have labeled Maye as “their guy,” though a splashy trade will likely be needed to draft the young passer.

FantasyPro‘s Thor Nystrom said about Jeremiah’s mock draft, “If the Vikings come out of tomorrow night with JJ McCarthy, Chop Robinson, and their 2025 R1 pick, I will be prepared to offer Kwesi a lifetime contract.”

Minnesota has nine picks altogether from Thursday through Sunday.

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