3 sleepers Vikings drafted who could become stars in 2024

Could the Vikings have found a few gems on Day 3 of the draft?
Minnesota Vikings kicker Will Reichard
Minnesota Vikings kicker Will Reichard / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

With the dust settling from the 2024 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings and their fan base are justifiably excited about the pair of first-round picks this organization came away with.

Both J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner came at a value, and both of them also filled tremendous needs on this roster.

But, let's not overlook the rest of the class. In fact, it would not be surprising, in the least bit, to see some of the later picks develop into stars down the line. Whether it be due to raw traits, opportunity, or a little bit of both, these three Vikings draft picks could so just that.

Minnesota Vikings Day 3 draft haul is headlined by one of the greatest kickers in college football history

Will Reichard - K (Sixth Round)

It's rare that you see a kicker drafted, but the lone kicker drafted this year went to Minnesota in Round 6. Alabama's Will Reichard could end up becoming a star for the Vikings, even though kickers are hardly talked about under that umbrella.

Look at Minnesota's record in one-score games two seasons ago. They went 11-0 in 2022, and just as Viking fans suspected, there was no chance Minnesota could repeat such a feat in 2023, going 6-8 in such contests.

Whether it was by a touchdown or a field goal, the Vikings had a hard time finishing games last season. Adding the NCAA record-holder for most points scored all-time should surely help, as Reichard made 84 field goals and 295 extra points throughout his collegiate career.

Vikings fans know, all too well, the pains of having an unreliable kicker. Reichard should not only provide stability, but become one of the league's best in a hurry. The Crimson Tide product made a school record 10 kicks from beyond 50 yards, proving he has a big, dependable leg.

Khyree Jackson - CB (Fourth Round)

In 2023, the Vikings struggled against the pass. Minnesota finished as the ninth-worst team defending through the air, allowing 234.5 passing yards per game. One of the bigger culprits for the reason behind this struggle was second-year cornerback Akayleb Evans, who allowed an opposing passer rating of 104.4 while also giving up over 12 yards per completion.

He was charged with 18 missed tackles per Pro Football Focus and only accumulated three pass breakups all season long. Now, he'll have some competition in this year's fourth-round pick, Khyree Jackson. The Oregon product may have only been a fourth rounder, but he'll have an opportunity to steal away some playing time.

Jackson presents opposing wide receivers with overwhelming size and strength, standing a towering 6-foot-4. And, for his size, he runs pretty well, having notched a 4.5 in his 40-yard dash at the Combine.

One of the reasons Jackson wasn't drafted until early Day 3 was due to his lack of experience, having only 14 starts during his college career. With more experience and the ability to refine technique, Jackson's frame and physical tools are more than enough to work with in becoming a great corner in this league.

Michael Jurgens - G/C (Seventh Round)

Vikings fans are about ready for a consistent starting five up front. It's been a little while. And, although the team drafted Michael Jurgens in the seventh round, there's no reason why the Wake Forest product cannot compete for a job.

Both Blake Brandel and Ed Ingram, Minnesota's current starting guards, are far from irreplaceable. The two of them struggled especially in pass protection, last year, with Ingram being slightly better.

Jurgens comes into the league having experience playing both guard and center, which gives the Vikings some flexibility. He is also a patient pass blocker and very intelligent, looking to help teammates and is always aware.

He fell in the draft because of a lack of overall strength, but that's something he can always continue to work on. With his high IQ, Jurgens could end up paying huge dividends as a seventh rounder for Minnesota. Do not be surprised if he comes out of training camp having given the coaching staff a real, tough decision as to which two guards will end up starting the season.

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