Unpopular Vikings Draft Option Generating Last-Minute Buzz

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2024 NFL draft could be monumental for the Minnesota Vikings, an organization that needs a new quarterback following Kirk Cousins’ departure. Finding a franchise quarterback is the main objective for every general manager because it ensures annual relevancy and competitiveness in the playoff race. No other single person can generate that much of an impact.

Unpopular Vikings Draft Option Generating Last-Minute Buzz

Unpopular Vikings Draft Option Generating Last-Minute Buzz
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

With the top quarterbacks expected to fly off the board rather quickly on draft Thursday, trading up is the way to go to prevent from missing out on them. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has acquired the 23rd overall pick from the Houston Texans to increase the attractiveness of his potential trade offers, and the deal on draft day has been widely expected for weeks.

But what if the Vikings stay put and once again use the 11th overall pick instead of boosting their draft stock into the top five? Minnesota could keep picks 11 and 23 and draft two players instead of packaging the selections.

mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) warms up before Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to Si.com’s Albert Breer, that option deserves more attention.

Now, over the last week or so, Minnesota has gotten a little more aggressive on calling around. The Vikings could still move up to 4 or 5 for McCarthy. But I’m not quite as sure that they do that as I was a few weeks ago.

Breer thinks the Vikings “could very well call everyone’s bluff on needing to go up for a quarterback” because McCarthy could slide to pick 11. He also views Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. as an option.

The Vikings, of course, would be playing with fire. Any team could move ahead of him in the draft and select a sliding McCarthy, especially with Denver and Las Vegas sitting right behind the Vikings in the draft order without a franchise quarterback on the roster. If McCarthy is their guy, they should make sure actually to draft him.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweeted: “Vikings more likely to keep 11+23 at this point, though they continue to explore all options.”

Two reporters mentioning the same theory on the same day is either a strange coincidence, or there might be some truth to it.

After weeks and months of envisioning McCarthy and Drake Maye as the Minnesota Vikings’ new quarterbacks, it would be disappointing if the franchise drafted a worse prospect just to keep the draft capital.

If the Vikings can’t pull off a trade and are forced to stick and pick, addressing the defensive side of the ball seems to be the way to go. Defensive tackle Byron Murphy out of Texas has been linked to the Vikings various times, and cornerbacks Quinyon Mitchell and Terrion Arnold could be just as intriguing as pass-rushers Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu, and Dallas Turner.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Another possibility is trading down to acquire future draft capital. Adding a first-round pick in 2025 to find a passer in next year’s draft class is a sensible move unless the purple crew really loves Penix Jr. or Bo Nix.

In a rumor-filled NFL draft cycle, the most popular ideas for Minnesota’s draft remain the ones in which they land one of the top quarterback prospects. After decades of selecting the leftovers in the draft and signing patch-over players at the most important position on the roster, it is time to actually make the bold move and invest whatever is necessary for the preferred option.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt