The 4 “Losers” from the Vikings Draft

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The Minnesota Vikings fired up a much-anticipated draft last week, welcoming seven new players and 17 more undrafted free agents thereafter. So, 24 men altogether.

The 4 “Losers” from the Vikings Draft

This was the draft haul:

  • R1: J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)
  • R1: Dallas Turner (EDGE, Alabama)
  • R4: Khyree Jackson (CB, Oregon)
  • R6: Walter Rouse (OT, Oklahoma)
  • R6: Will Reichard (K, Alabama)
  • R7: Michael Jurgens (C, Wake Forest)
  • R7: Levi Drake Rodriguez (DT, Texas A&M University-Commerce)

And the new undrafted free agents:

  • Matt Cindric (OL)
  • K.J. Cloyd (LB)
  • Jeremy Flax (OL)
  • Dallas Gant (LB)
  • Devron Harper (WR)
  • Ty James (WR)
  • Jeshaun Jones (WR)
  • Trey Knox (TE)
  • Tyler Manoa (DL)
  • Donovan Manuel (LB)
  • Dwight McGlothern (CB)
  • Gabriel Murphy (OLB)
  • Doug Nester (OL)
  • Owen Porter (OLB)
  • Bo Richter (OLB)
  • Spencer Rolland (OL)
  • Taki Taimani (DL)

Accordingly, these players’ job security fell after the draft. They’re listed alphabetically.

1. Sam Darnold (QB)

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The “good” part for Sam Darnold is that everyone knew Minnesota would draft a quarterback in Round 1. Then, it actually happened. Therefore, he will be pitted in a summer quarterback competition with J.J. McCarthy, and it’ll be up to him to stave off the Wolverine.

Darnold has an almighty chance to replicate Baker Mayfield’s feats from 2023, but in reality, he’s a prototypical patchover quarterback to McCarthy. That was confirmed during the draft.

2. Nick Mullens (QB)

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A gunslinging QB2, Mullens started three games for the 2023 Vikings — and Minnesota lost all three. His insertion into the starting lineup inconveniently corresponded with the death of Brian Flores’ 2023 defense. The moment Mullens took the scepter versus the Cincinnati Bengals last December, Flores’ defense stopped playing well. It was really weird.

Three months after that game, Minnesota signed Darnold, which pumped the brakes on Mullens’ 2024 status with the team. In theory, Mullens could’ve been showcased as the patchover quarterback to an eventual rookie — that turned out to be McCarthy — but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose Darnold instead.

Mullens could be the odd man out via trade or summer roster cut. He or Jaren Hall.

3. Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)

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Van Ginkel was cruising along this offseason, theorized a starter for the purple team in 2024. Then, Minnesota unexpectedly scooped Dallas Turner from Round 1 of the draft. He’s a man who will start sooner rather than later. And yes, that means Van Ginkel won’t be an uncontested starting outside linebacker for the Vikings out of the gate.

The former Dolphin will still command a ton of snaps this season, but the plan is for Turner to dominate and maybe even win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Turner can’t do that without supplanting Van Ginkel in the starting lineup.

4. Veteran DBs

Future Suddenly
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These are the Vikings’ defensive backs at the moment:

  1. Harrison Smith
  2. Camryn Bynum
  3. Josh Metellus
  4. Byron Murphy
  5. Mekhi Blackmon
  6. Shaquill Griffin
  7. Andrew Booth
  8. Khyree Jackson
  9. NaJee Thompson
  10. Jay Ward
  11. Akayleb Evans
  12. Lewis Cine
  13. Theo Jackson
  14. Dwight McGlothern
  15. Jaylin Williams
  16. Joejuan Williams
  17. A.J. Green III

About 10-12 of those men will make the 53-man roster. That unexpectedly put veteran defensive backs like Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans on the roster bubble.

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 Vikings 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