Vikings’ Huge Draft Plan Takes Shape

Dustin Baker's Predictive 7-Round Mock Draft for Vikings
Vikings Draft

Folks were minding their business Friday, and then everything regarding the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason changed. Absolutely changed.

Vikings’ Huge Draft Plan Takes Shape

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled off a seismic trade with the Houston Texans, sending two 2nd-Round picks to the Houston Texans for Houston’s 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a future late-round pick swap.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

This was the deal by the numbers:

Vikings Receive:
No. 23
No. 232

Texans Receive:
No. 42
No. 188
2025 2nd-Round pick

Predictably, many ran with a theory that suggested the trade with Houston was just the first of a two-part plan for Minnesota to climb the draftboard further. Todd McShay tweeted about the trade, “The Vikings don’t make this move unless they’ve already had serious discussions with a specific team re: what it will take to move up for the QB they desire (presumably not named Caleb or Jayden). So is it NE at 3 (for Maye)? Or a team picking a couple/few spots down (for JJ)?”

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports.

And overall, this is the likeliest scenario. Minnesota would have no real incentive to conduct Friday’s trade six weeks before the draft if the plan were to keep two 1st-Rounds picks — Nos. 11 and 23 — and choose at those spots on April 25th. Why? Well, Adofo-Mensah would presumably want to see the fall of the board on draft night if he coveted two players. One can’t learn that until draft night.

So when NFL analyst Jackson McIntire tweeted the following on Saturday, it made sense: “I’m not one who typically reports these things but I’m hearing from someone whom I trust that the Vikings’ trade talks to this point have been primarily with New England, and to a lesser degree, Arizona. Sounds like Washington is assumed around the league to be staying put at 2.”

Reveals Rookie QB
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports.

Formerly of Pro Football Focus, McIntire claimed Minnesota’s draft plan will ultimately involve a deal with the Patriots, attaching the purple team to the third overall pick, which would effectively guarantee the selection of one of these men: Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), or Jayden Daniels (LSU) — also known as the Top 3 quarterback prospects in the draft.

On VikesNow last week, a daily Vikings-themed podcast connected to VikingsTerritory, FantasyPro’s Thor Nystrom said that New England may not be totally enamored with Maye, indicating the young passer could be gettable for Minnesota. Maye’s skillset would translate wonderfully to head coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense. There’s just no other way around it.

Vikings Mock Draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is still in play, too, but as VikesNow’s Brevan Bane said Saturday on a separate VikesNow episode, he now feels like “the floor” for Minnesota’s draft plan. That is — the “worst” Adofo-Mensah can do now is McCarthy.

The draft plan is taking shape: the Vikings will probably end up with Drake Maye, evidenced by the McIntire-Patriots theory, with a “worst-case scenario” of McCarthy, uplifted by Bane.

The NFL Draft is 5.5 weeks away. The would-be follow-up trade by Minnesota could hit at any minute.

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