Janik Eckardt’s Draft Predictions for Vikings | 2024

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The 2024 NFL draft could be franchise-changing for the Minnesota Vikings, an organization that has lost its starting quarterback in free agency. A new passer to form a connection with Justin Jefferson for years to come is at the top of the wishlist. Brian Flores’ defense could use some more difference-makers after the departure of Danielle Hunter.

Janik Eckardt’s Draft Predictions for Vikings | 2024

Since general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah acquired a second selection in the first round, a trade into the top ten of the draft has been expected. However, like every year, the element of surprise makes the three-day event great. Here are some predictions for this year.

The New QB Is Found

The Vikings trade up for one of the top passers in the draft, and either Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy will be the new quarterbacks in Kevin O’Connell’s offense, at least once they are ready to usurp spot starter Sam Darnold.

Draft Predictions for Vikings | 2024
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While the franchise has never selected a passer in the top ten of a draft, it is time to try a different approach and put all the chips on one of those two guys.

Maye will likely be the third QB selected, and a trade with the New England Patriots is costly, while McCarthy’s deal could be a little cheaper. Regardless, Minnesota has the surroundings to develop them, and they possess the skills to become a franchise QB.

A Running Back Joins

After a terrible season of rushing attack, which is uncharacteristic for a franchise that has employed either Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook for 16 consecutive seasons, the team wants to overhaul the running back room. Aaron Jones should be the top guy, supported by 2022 draft pick Ty Chandler. Kene Nwangwu remains a key returner, but the offense needs one more guy.

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Because it is tough to stay healthy when playing running back in the NFL, and Jones’ injury history is long, a third runner should join to form a new trio. On day three of the draft, the Vikings will make it four straight years of selecting a running back.

Vikings Will Add a Kicker

Three-year kicker Greg Joseph was let go in free agency, and former XFL kicker John Parker Romo was signed. O’Connell previously forecasted a competition in training camp. Romo’s competition won’t be a veteran but a rookie who will either be added in the draft or as a priority free agent right after.

Detroit Lions kicker Parker Romo (24) attempts a field goal against the New York Giants during the second half of a preseason game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. © Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Blair Walsh and Daniel Carlson were the last two kickers drafted by the Vikings. Skol Nation doesn’t have many fond memories of the two, although Carlson is one of the elite kickers in the NFL. The Vikings botched the situation because of a lack of patience. Walsh was tremendous early in his career but infamously imploded in January 2016.

The Trenches Will Be Addressed

Minnesota doesn’t hold a pick on day two of the draft, and the two first-rounders will be used on a quarterback, but the decision-makers will still choose at least one player to strengthen the trenches on each side of the ball, possibly multiple ones.

South Dakota State’s Mark Gronowski runs with the ball alongside Mason McCormick during the FCS semifinals against Delaware on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. Sdsu Semifinals 020

Following Dalton Risner’s exit, a new left guard is needed, and the defensive line is in bad shape. Finding difference-makers on draft Saturday is hard, but the Vikings will try regardless. Some more depth is also required.

A New WR Arrives

Behind star wideouts Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, the Vikings lost K.J. Osborn in free agency, and the team has only signed Trent Sherfield and re-signed Brandon Powell. A new wideout will be picked on Saturday to compensate for the loss and add some more juice to the ground beyond the two top players.

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The good news is that the class is loaded at that position, and immediate contributors can be found in rounds four through seven. O’Connell can choose his preferred option as players with a wide range of skill sets and styles will be available.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt