4 Vikings veterans who could be cut after the 2024 NFL draft

Minnesota Vikings QB Nick Mullens
Minnesota Vikings QB Nick Mullens / David Berding/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Draft has been over for about three weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings are about to have their first organized team activity of the preseason. The draft brought in plenty of new faces. Those new faces bring in competition for starting jobs, order of the depth chart, and a spot on the final version of this roster in late August.

After the draft, the path to making the 2024 Vikings got tougher for a lot of veterans. These players aren't just fighting for their starting jobs, but many could be fighting just to make the team.

Who are a few veterans Minnesota could cut after the 2024 NFL Draft?

Nick Mullens - QB

The Vikings traded up to the 10th overall pick and selected their quarterback of the future in J.J. McCarthy. Fans and the team are very excited to have a young quarterback on the roster who could be the answer at the position for the next ten years.

With McCarthy coming in that means one current quarterback on the depth chart will be the odd man out. It could be Jaren Hall who didn't show much his rookie season, but it could also be the veteran Nick Mullens.

Mullens was able to put up points and yardage in Kevin O'Connell's system. After the Josh Dobbs experiment fizzled out, Mullens took over and ran a much more efficient offense. The Vikings were able to move the ball up and down the field, but there was one huge problem: turnovers.

Mullens had some games where he threw for multiple touchdowns and over 300 yards, but in those games, he also threw eight interceptions. The turnovers forced the Vikings to turn back to Jaren Hall against the Packers, and that was a disaster.

O'Connell knows what he has with Mullens, and while the yards are impressive, the interceptions are killer. That could be the deciding factor in the team going with Hall instead, making Mullens a veteran who gets the axe.

Patrick Jones II - EDGE

Patrick Jones II had a solid finish to his 2023 season. He started the final three games after D.J. Wonnum and Marcus Davenport were both lost to injury. In those three starts, he had 16 total tackles, one sack, and three tackles for a loss. He showed up when the team needed him, and before the draft, he looked like a lock to make the roster. That can't be said now.

Jones is still likely to make the team, but the road got much more difficult. The Vikings used their second first-round pick to get edge rusher Dallas Turner. He's a freak and will be rotated in with Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel.

The Vikings then hit the position hard after the draft by signing players like Gabriel Murphy, Bo Richter, and Owen Porter. Andre Carter II is already in the mix from last season, and the Vikings added Jihad Ward in free agency, making this a very contested position.

The Vikings only kept five edge rushers last year which means after the top three, only two spots could remain. Jones needs to stay hot if he's going to beat out the veteran Ward and the young players the team added after the draft. If he struggles, the Vikings could go with a younger option, knowing that Jones is in a contract year.

Jonathan Bullard - DL

It wasn't overly surprising to see the Vikings bring Jonathan Bullard back in free agency. The veteran is a solid player who is good against the run and can occasionally make a play behind the line of scrimmage. He isn't a game-changer, but he's a role player, and that may be good enough for the 30-year-old to earn his third season with the Vikings.

Bullard won't be handed the job. The Vikings drafted someone they are very high on in the seventh round, and that is Levi Drake Rodriguez from somewhere called Texas A&M University-Commerce. Rodriguez's level of competition can be questioned, but his size, his burst off the line, and his production cannot.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Rodriguez played in 21 games for Texas A&M Commerce, racking up 88 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, and seven and a half sacks. He's got a nasty streak to him and was the star of his defense.

If Bullard has an average camp, Rodriguez shows flashes and the final spot on the defensive line comes down to those two, it's a given the Vikings would go with the guy who has the upside. That would mean the veteran Bullard would become a victim of the Vikings draft.

Akayleb Evans - CB

The Vikings upgraded their cornerback room during and after the draft. In the fourth round, they stole the big corner out of Oregon, Khyree Jackson. He's got size, long, lanky arms, great ball skills, and a willingness to hit. He's the total package and should see the field very early in his Vikings career.

They also were able to land a talented corner after the draft in Dwight McGlothern. He isn't quite as big as Jackson but is plenty tall himself and is a fluid mover. He likely would've heard his name called had he not been injured last season. Jackson is a lock to make the roster, and McGlothern has a great shot. If there are two new faces in, that means someone will have to be out, and that could be Akayleb Evans.

Evans has started 17 games in his career and has done plenty of good in that span. His 88 career tackles are solid, as are his nine pass breakups, but anyone who watched the 2023 Vikings to the bitter end last year knows that Evans's play fell off a cliff.

It was maybe in the Bengals game where Evans just looked lost. He was letting his man run wide open across the field, and it seemed he had no idea what his assignment was. Brian Flores stood up for him in the presser following the game and said everyone has bad days.

A game later, he was inserted back into the lineup, and the horrible play continued, which led to him being benched in favor of Andrew Booth Jr. and Jaylin Williams.

Evans has to step up his game in camp this year. If not, the Vikings will replace him with the young talent they found in the draft and won't think twice about doing it.

More Vikings News and Analysis