Our 2024 Draft Endorsement for the Vikings

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Minnesota Vikings fans, as a prediction, believe the franchise will end up with North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

The collective body of VikingsTerritory writers forecast Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy as the pick. And VT’s Janik Eckardt + Dustin Baker split over the prediction, with Eckardt forecasting McCarthy as the pick and Baker rolling with Maye.

Our 2024 Draft Endorsement for the Vikings

Those are the predictions — what folks think will happen. Here is the official VikingsTerritory endorsement: trade into the Top 3 or Top 5 for Drake Maye.

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The price will be lucrative. That is undebatable and undeniable. While it’s painstaking to offload valuable draft assets, especially from the future, our staff suggests the lemon is worth the squeeze. After hours upon hours of film study, analysis, and dialogue, we landed on Maye as the guy to take the baton after Kirk Cousins left the franchise in March.

Trading into the Top 3 could be as expensive as three 1st-Rounders — maybe more. Ideally, for these purposes, Maye falls down the draftboard to a more reasonable spot, but as of Monday, April 22nd, those are merely best-case scenarios.

drake maye
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Here’s our mindest, in the easiest digestible format:

  1. If Maye is good and the QB1 for the future, the trade cost won’t matter in 2026 or 2027. Nobody will care. Ask Kansas City Chiefs fans if the Patrick Mahomes’ trade pricetag was worth it.
  2. If he’s not good, the Vikings will be in rough shape for the next three years anyway, and bottoming out with Maye as “a failure” would overlap with the return of 1st-Round picks.

No matter what, should Minnesota effectuate this endorsement, Maye will determine the course of the franchise and head coach Kevin O’Connell’s employment. If Maye flops a la Christian Ponder, Minnesota will be in dire straits four years from now, onboarding a new head coach, and draft capital will return. Bottom line: Maye needs four years for a full assessment, and that’s when draft picks flow back into the system.

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The purple team had a chance last year to draft a quarterback and let him marinate for a year, and to an extent, did so with Jaren Hall. But that was a late-round lottery ticket. Now, with Cousins gone, Minnesota must hope for the best in a hurry with the new guy. Newcomer free agent Sam Darnold may also start out of the gate, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maye can watch and learn for an undetermined period.

We also won’t be upset — at all — with J.J. McCarthy if Minnesota nominates the Wolverine for life after Cousins. McCarthy appears to have the precious “it factor,” and if he’s gettable for the Vikings at a more affordable cost, we’ll get behind that, too.

Here’s why Maye should be the man for Minnesota:

  1. He’s young; 21 years old
  2. Big-armed
  3. Perfect size: 6’4″ and 230 pounds
  4. Will fit wonderfully in Kevin O’Connell’s offense
  5. He’s mobile
  6. A pocket passer at heart
  7. Has a Josh Allen or Justin Herbert upside

Last year, we endorsed a trade up the board for C.J. Stroud — for basically all the same reasons — but he was unavailable and became a Houston Texan via the draft’s second pick.

The Vikings have never drafted a quarterback with a Top 10 pick. It’s time. We say Maye.

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.