“Insider Mock Draft” Is Glorious for Vikings

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE.

The Minnesota Vikings are tentatively scheduled to pick 11th and 23rd on draft night, which is three days away.

“Insider Mock Draft” Is Glorious for Vikings

Of course, the club is expected to package those draft picks and trade up the board with some team in the Top 5. But that theory is only speculative, and if The 33rd Team is correct, Minnesota could stick-and-pick at No. 11 and grab Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

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.

That’s the latest and greatest theory, anyway, from Ari Meirov, who published a mock draft Monday and claimed it was based on “what people around the league believe will happen.”

Meirov wrote about McCarthy to Minnesota, “A trade-up could likely be required for the Minnesota Vikings to get a quarterback in this draft, but I don’t think they will have to go all the way to No. 4 with Arizona the way most people think, especially if it’s for J.J. McCarthy. Assuming it can’t get Maye, Minnesota could be more patient and let the draft come to them; trading up to No. 7 or 8 would make more sense.”

qb prospects
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Maye, too, is a draft darling among Vikings fans, and in fact, is the player most of the team’s faithful want to see quarterback the franchise during life after Kirk Cousins.

“McCarthy is the most polarizing quarterback of the top four. Still, he would walk into easily the best position of anyone: Minnesota has the play-caller in Kevin O’Connell, the playmakers with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and Aaron Jones, and the protection with bookend tackles Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill,” Meirov added about the McCarthy pick.

Vikings Top Draft Target
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Interestingly, ESPN posted a similar mock draft last week, where McCarthy fell out of the Top 10 and into Minnesota’s lap at No. 11. Matt Miller authored that edition and claimed his picks were derived from NFL draft scouts’ collective opinion. Couple the ESPN piece with Meriov’s “around the league” mock draft, and maybe Minnesota is in the driver’s seat for McCarthy without a fancy trade.

Meanwhile, because no trade was required for McCarthy in Meirov’s mock, Minnesota held onto the 23rd overall pick and drafted Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton, a selection that wouldn’t irk a single Vikings fan anywhere.

More Defense for Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The cool part? McCarthy — or Maye — plunging to pick No. 11 is basically the Holy Grail scenario for Minnesota. It wouldn’t have to leverage the future via trade, could still draft a Top 4 quarterback prospect, and almost by the way, draft a premier defender.

We shall see if The 33rd Team and ESPN prove correct.

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 MIN 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.