One Fringe Draft Theory for Vikings Now Feels More Credible

Dustin Baker's Vikings Mock Draft 1.0
Vikings NFL Draft

Maybe the Minnesota Vikings won’t need an extra blockbuster trade after all.

One Fringe Draft Theory for Vikings Now Feels More Credible

About six weeks ago, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pressed the button on a juicy pre-draft trade, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. That move occurred two days after Kirk Cousins left in free agency for the Atlanta Falcons and positioned Minnesota wonderfully on the draftboard for a quarterback of the future.

Draft Theory
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And with the event now two days away, one fringe theory is gaining credibility. It’s the notion that Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy — the oddsmakers’ frontrunner to become a Viking — could fall to Minnesota at pick No. 11, with no trade required.

Four months ago, McCarthy waltzed onto the purple team’s draft radar as a possible 2nd-Round selection. Then, his team won the National Championship over the Washington Huskies, and McCarthy began a mighty draft climb — all the way into the Top 5, at least in theory. For a couple of months, Vikings fans have absorbed McCarthy as the most likely quarterback of the future, but most conceded another trade would be necessary to fetch his services.

NFL Draft
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But down the stretch of the draft’s lead-up, some outfits now believe McCarthy could tumble to Minnesota’s organic 11th pick. On Monday, The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov posted a mock draft based on “what people around the league believe will happen.” That mock merged Minnesota with McCarthy at No. 11 and defensive tackle Johnny Newton of Illinois at No. 23

Meirov wrote about McCarthy as a Viking, “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.”

Vikings Draft
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The trade into the No. 7 or 8 hole, too, would check some boxes, but Meirov’s mock settled on McCarthy to Minnesota at No. 11. ESPN published 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. So, consider the ESPN piece with Meirov’s “around the league” mock draft, and maybe Minnesota is in the pole position for McCarthy without a fancy trade.

It’s the best of both worlds because Minnesota could stick-and-pick for McCarthy without mortgaging the future via draft capital and also select a premiere defender at pick No. 23.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The theory effectively boils down to how eager teams like the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, or Las Vegas Raiders might be to draft McCarthy or trade up for the Wolverine.

Earlier this week, the Broncos swung a low-risk trade for quarterback Zach Wilson, which might’ve crossed them off the list for a trade up the board.

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).

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