There’s a New Trend for the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft

Draft Plan Just Got
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Vikings fans across the world seem to want Minnesota to take a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft.

It makes sense considering Kirk Cousins is entering free agency and is heading into his age-36 season coming off an Achilles tear. However, recent mock drafts have set a new trend for the Vikings in the first round.

The Vikings have not selected an edge rusher in the first round since 2005 when they took Erasmus James out of Wisconsin with the 18th overall pick. However, that is precisely the position that many mock drafts have the Vikings taking this spring.

A New Trend for the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft

A New Trend
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According to NFL Mock Draft Database, the new favorite selection for the Vikings with the 11th overall pick is EDGE Laiatu Latu out of UCLA. He commands 19.5% of the selections for the Vikings right now.

Latu is a very talented prospect and looks like he will be selected very early on in the upcoming draft this April. This season, the UCLA product put together a ridiculous stat line of 21.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

One draft analyst who recently sent Latu to the Vikings is Josh Edwards of CBS, who had the following to say of the selection:

“Minnesota has a handful of needs and none are bigger than quarterback if Kirk Cousins is not retained. However, Laiatu Latu helps fill the potential void left by Marcus Davenport and/or Danielle Hunter departing in free agency.”

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The trend doesn’t stop at Latu, though. Washington QB Michael Penix is commanding 13.8% of draft selections by the Vikings right now, but right alongside him is Florida State EDGE Jared Verse, who also has been selected 13.8% of the time.

Verse went into the 2023 season largely viewed as the best pass-rusher in the class, and he put together another dominant season for the Seminoles this year by recording 12.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Damian Parson of The Draft Network released his first 2024 NFL mock draft recently, and he had the Vikings take Verse in the first round, writing:

“Three of the Vikings’ edge defenders are heading into free agency, including Danielle Hunter. Jared Verse would provide an outstanding replacement or partner if Hunter is re-signed. Verse’s first step and speed-to-power conversion make him a candidate for the EDGE1 crown of this draft class.”

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As much as the Vikings do need to think about the quarterback spot this spring, they also must consider the future of their pass-rushing group. As both Edwards and Parsons suggest, all three of Marcus Davenport, Danielle Hunter, and D.J. Wonnum are set to enter free agency.

Currently, only 2023 undrafted free agent Andre Carter and Patrick Jones remain under contract with the team through the 2024 season. If QBs fly off the board at the top of the draft, the Vikings would be smart and pivot towards a pass-rusher with the 11th overall pick.

Editor’s Note: Information from Sports Reference CFB and Spotrac were used for this article.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.