The Vikings Ended 2 Draft Droughts

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The wait(s) is over.

The Vikings Ended 2 Draft Droughts

The Minnesota Vikings entered the 2024 NFL Draft with two unusually long draft droughts — that just so happened to be rather important spots on the depth chart.

All told, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added seven new players from the draft and rushed to the undrafted free-agent wire for 17 more on Saturday night. Yes, the purple team onboarded 24 new players in three days.

Along the way, these droughts ended.

1. The EDGE Rusher Drought

Unbelievably, until Thursday night, Minnesota had not drafted an EDGE defender in 19 years with Round 1 or 2 capital. Dallas Turner changed that when Adofo-Mensah spent the 17th overall pick on the Alabama alumnus.

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Minnesota has been lucky — and resourceful — with acquiring EDGE rushers not from the 1st or 2nd Round of the draft. Jared Allen, Everson Griffen, and Brian Robison can attest. The last time, before Thursday night, that they invested early-round draft capital in an EDGE rusher was in 2005, when the team scooped Erasmus James from Wisconsin in Round 1.

The 2005 NFL Draft was terrible for the Vikings — it was the same event used to draft Troy Williamson — and incidentally, was the final time to date the franchise drafted a pass rusher early. 

The Vikings Have 3 Draft
AMERICAN FOOTBALL 2007-2008 NFL Minnesota Erasmus James. Image credit: Imago. The Vikings drafted James in the 1st Round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Then, after Danielle Hutner vamoosed in March to the Houston Texans, many wondered about the purple team’s plan at outside linebacker. To replace Hunter, Minnesota signed free agents Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, bringing the depth up to speed. Some believed that was the solution — until Turner shattered the opinion in Round 1.

After a 19-year break, Minnesota got off the schneid via drafting pass rushers.

2. The QB in Round 1 Drought

Mainly because Kirk Cousins manned QB1 duty for six years, the Vikings hadn’t used the 1st Round for a quarterback since 2014. Then, last week’s draft occurred, and the Vikings welcome Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy at pick No. 10 after a trade with the New York Jets.

Minnesota 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

Before McCarthy, Teddy Bridgewater was the last guy, and Minnesota had high hopes for Bridgewater, but he suffered a gruesome leg injury just before the start of the 2016 season. No one knew it at the time, but that was basically a wrap on Bridgewater’s Vikings career.

Minnesota also made franchise history with the McCarthy pick. He is now the highest-drafted quarterback ever for the purple team. Daunte Culpepper and Christian Ponder, chosen at pick No. 11 in 1999 and 2011, respectively, were the previous title owners.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

For the first time in 63 years, Minnesota selected a quarterback with a Top 10 pick. It’s a new day.

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)

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