Vikings Somehow Got Best of Both Worlds in Draft

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

For years, Minnesota Vikings fans called former general manager Rick Spielman by the moniker of Trader Rick, but his affinity for trades was pedestrian compared to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the current boss.

Vikings Somehow Got Best of Both Worlds in Draft

Adofo-Mensah fired off two trades — while not leveraging any future 1st-Round capital — to net Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at pick No. 10 and Alabama EDGE rusher Dallas Turner seven picks later.

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

The selections were championed by Vikings loyalists, chiefly because the club somehow got the best of both worlds: a crack at a quarterback of the future and arguably the best pass rusher in the draft. Heading into the event, as early as Thursday dinnertime, folks were bracing for a gaudy purple trade that could’ve sent three 1st-Rounders or more to the New England Patriots for North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

Minnesota didn’t need to do that.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

Instead, all the smoke about McCarthy as a close-to-lock in the draft’s Top 5 was false, and he plunged to the fringe of the Top 10, enabling Adofo-Mensah to pounce for relative pennies. Then, with an itchy trigger finger, he couldn’t wait any longer on Thursday evening, trading back up for Turner, who feels like a sure thing per college-to-NFL translation.

Minnesota obtained the 10th overall pick from the New York Jets, plus a 6th-Rounder on Saturday, in exchange for the 11th pick, a 4th-Rounder and a 5th-Rounder. That was spent on McCarthy. An hour later, Adofo-Mensah shipped his 23rd overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars along with a 2025 3rd-Round pick, a 2024 4th-Rounder, and a 2024 5th-Round selection. That was the price to secure a potent rookie EDGE defender.

Vikings Top Draft Target
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

All told, this was the Vikings’ price on Thursday night, including the March 15th trade with the Houston Texans, which was an eventual path to Turner:

The Vikings Got:
J.J. McCarthy
Dallas Turner
6th-Rounder (2024)
7th-Rounder (2024)

The Vikings Gave:
No. 11
2nd-Rounder (2024)
2nd-Rounder (2025)
3rd-Rounder (2025)
4th-Rounder (2024)
4th-Rounder (2025)
5th-Rounder (2024)
5th-Rounder (2024)
6th-Rounder (2024)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

On the surface, casual fans might balk at the price, but considering the franchise landed what it considers the quarterback for the next decade, plus a Danielle Hunter replacement, the price was reasonable, avoided sending future 1st-Rounders elsewhere, and ducked the once-ginormous cost a trade with the Patriots might’ve entailed.

Meanwhile, Minnesota will have more cap space than usual next offseason — courtesy of Kirk Cousins’ departure — and is expected to fill any holes via free agency, especially because mid-round draft capital has dwindled for the next two drafts.

These are Minnesota’s remaining picks in the current draft:

  • Round 4: 108
  • Round 6: 177 (from CAR)
  • Round 6: 203 (from NYJ)
  • Round 7: 230 (from ATL)
  • Round 7: 232

McCarthy (January) and Turner (February) turned 21 in the last few months.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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