Vikings Finalize 7-Man Draft Class. Get to Know the Rookies.

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The Minnesota Vikings entered the draft with many scheduled draft selections but also many needs. Most eyes were on the crucial quarterback position, and everyone expected the Vikings to trade up into the top range of the draft to select a passer, which would’ve cost both early picks. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah found a way to select two high-end prospects regardless.

Vikings Finalize 7-Man Draft Class. Get to Know the Rookies.

The hope is to find some franchise cornerstones in this draft. These are the seven candidates to turn into that, with the first couple of guys obviously having by far the best chance.

QB J.J. McCarthy

The rumor mill leading up to the draft primarily included North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. Adofo-Mensah tried to make a deal for Maye, but when the Patriots decided to stay put, he traded up only one spot, kept most of his valuable draft capital, and chose McCarthy.

Vikings Finalize 7-Man Draft Class
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The rookie possesses intriguing tools, especially his mobility and underrated arm, which are wonderful elements of his game. He wasn’t asked to carry the load at Michigan but made the plays when asked to and has experience in a pro-style offense. Because of that and already refined mechanics, he could be ready to step on the field sooner rather than later, although Sam Darnold will likely still get some starts.

McCarthy has the skill set to be the long-term answer under center, and the surroundings in Minnesota are excellent for a young passer.

EDGE Dallas Turner

By trading up from 23 to 17, Adofo-Mensah snatched one of the top defenders in the draft. Many expected Dallas Turner to be a top-ten pick, and he was the betting favorite to be the first defender selected.

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The former Alabama pass-rusher is an athletic freak. His performance at the scouting combine included a 4.46 40-yard dash with a 40.5-inch vertical jump. Everyone expected him to turn heads, but he outperformed the high expectations.

Turner needs to add more tools to his pass-rush toolbox, but once he does that, the sky is the limit for the 21-year-old. He will contribute early in his career, probably in a versatile rotation with signings Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard, but he is undoubtedly the most talented of the trio.

CB Khyree Jackson

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Defensive coordinator Brian Flores received more help for his defense in the fourth round with the 108th pick. Cornerback Khyree Jackson started his career at Fort Scott Community College before committing to Alabama. After two seasons, he joined the Oregon Ducks and played a wonderful campaign there.

Jackson is an unusually tall cornerback at 6’4″, and he has the talent to claim a role in the cornerback room that includes Byron Murphy, Shaq Griffin, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and Mekhi Blackmon.

OT Walter Rouse

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Entering the draft, the offensive tackle position was a sneaky need because the Vikings only had three on the roster. Drafting backup tackles on day three is a popular move around the league. In 2022, the Vikings drafted Vederian Lowe in the sixth round, and he has been a pro comparison for the newest Viking, Walter Rouse.

In five seasons on campus, the left tackle started 53 games for Oklahoma and Stanford. Rouse possesses the prototypical size for an offensive tackle but lacks the athleticism, limiting his ceiling to a backup player.

K Will Reichard

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Everyone knows about the curse surrounding Minnesota’s kickers for decades; this is the latest attempt to break it. A former teammate of Turner and Jackson, Will Reichard kicked for the Crimson Tide for five seasons and broke the all-time NCAA points record.

He is almost automatic from short distances and hits 10 of 13 kicks from at least 50 yards. The knock on his scouting report is his lack of kicking power, but having a reliable kicker is still a massive upgrade.

C Michael Jurgens

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The center out of Wake Forest was the 230th pick of the draft, Minnesota’s first of two second-rounders. He has experience at guard and center but is neither the desired solution at the left guard spot nor competition for center Garrett Bradbury.

He will provide depth as an interior lineman and compete for a roster spot in training camp. Jurgens lacks power but is a solid athlete. His scotuing report can remind folks of a discount Bradbury.

DL Levi Drake Rodriguez

With the 232nd pick in the draft, the Vikings acquired defensive tackle Levi Drake Rodriguez out of Texas A&M Commerce. The Vikings had a pressing need to reinforce the defensive line, but they failed to do so. It is shaping up to be the team’s weakness once again.

Rodriguez offers an elite motor, but he likely lacks the size and the skill set to be more than a backup in the NFL. He will compete with veterans Jonah Williams, Jonathan Bullard, and last year’s draft pick Jaquelin Roy for a roster spot.

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