4 believable paths the Vikings could take to begin the 2024 NFL Draft

Former Oregon QB Bo Nix
Former Oregon QB Bo Nix / Paul Abell/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings swung a deal with the Houston Texans earlier this month and landed themselves an additional first-round pick.

The Vikings had to give up their second-rounder this year and a second-rounder in 2025, but now they have extra ammunition to move up in the first round to land their quarterback of the future.

Most assume Minnesota will do just that and move up in the draft to get a quarterback they deem to be a perfect fit for Kevin O'Connell's offense and to lead this team for the next decade. However, there is more than one way to go about doing that.

Just because they have the extra picks doesn't mean the Vikings are guaranteed to move way up the draft board. There are alternate routes they could explore.

These routes could yield the same results but with more risk. They could also result in adding more than just an impact quarterback.

Here are four routes Minnesota could pursue in the first round of this year's NFL Draft after acquiring an extra first-round selection from the Texans.

4 believable paths the Minnesota Vikings could take to begin the 2024 NFL Draft

Option No. 1: Stick and Pick

This is the least likely option, but the Vikings could choose to sit tight and take the best player that falls to them at pick No. 11 and then do the same at pick No. 23. That could be a quarterback, but it seems very unlikely that J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye would tumble that far down the board.

The thought with this path in the first round is that the Vikings would potentially take an impact player on defense, like defensive tackle Byron Murphy, or a cornerback like Quinyon Mitchell, and then grab their quarterback at 23 with Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix being the most likely targets.

It would give Minnesota a much-needed blue-chip talent on the defensive side of the ball but then the new regime would be mortgaging their futures on a quarterback who may not be as good as the top four options.

Penix is a talented player, but he has a lengthy injury history, he's older than both Maye and McCarthy, and he loses accuracy when pressured. There is also the chance that both Penix and Nix are taken before pick No. 23, and the Vikings could leave this draft with no future franchise quarterback on the roster at all.

The only aspect that gives the sticking and picking options any merit whatsoever is that, apparently, the Texans approached Minnesota about their trade.

If Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wasn't the one masterminding this idea, either he was planning on packaging multiple future first-rounders to go up, or he simply didn't believe McCarthy or Maye were worth trading up for.

Time will tell on this, but sticking and picking, while being an option, is a slim one at that.

Option No. 2: Wait and See

Another path Minnesota could take now that they have two first-round picks is to lie in the weeds and pounce if they feel they need to. This is where the Vikings patiently let the draft unfold and if they see a player fall to a spot, they can then move up to take him.

For Minnesota to do this, they would need to be very high on quarterback options who are not named J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye.

They would need to feel very good about Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix and believe that either can be the leader of their offense for years to come. That way, if they wait too long and miss out on McCarthy or Maye, they can settle for the other two options.

The benefit of going this route would be to still land a top quarterback without having to pay as much.

If the Vikings like McCarthy but aren't in love with him, and he does start to fall, it would cost far less to move up three spots to secure his services than jumping into the top five, giving up future first-round choices in the process.

This option seems less likely, but it could happen to a point. It would make sense for Minnesota to wait and see what the New England Patriots do with the No. 3 pick.

The Patriots are a team with needs everywhere and aren't close to competing. They could go with an elite talent like Marvin Harrison Jr., knowing that their current environment isn't ideal for a rookie to succeed.

If they surprise and don't take a quarterback, that could allow the Vikings to get a top talent at the most important position in sports without paying a premium price.

Option No. 3: Trade into the Top 5

This is probably the most likely option. The Vikings hold picks No. 11 and No. 23 and are likely going to package them to move into the top five to get whoever is there between Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy.

Everything Minnesota has done this offseason points to this move being made. They let Kirk Cousins go, they signed the bridge quarterback, and now they have the capital to move up and get their guy.

It's expected that three quarterbacks will go in the top three picks. The Chicago Bears are expected to take Caleb Williams. It seems like Jayden Daniels could be the guy for the Washington Commanders, and it's assumed if that happens, the Patriots will take Maye.

They all need franchise quarterbacks and are all in a position to land one.

The teams that hold the next two picks aren't in the same situations. The Arizona Cardinals have Kyler Murray, and the Los Angeles Chargers have Justin Herbert. Neither needs a franchise quarterback and are ideal trade partners for the Vikings.

Monti Ossenfort, who is the general manager of the Cardinals, has already made it known his pick is for sale. The Chargers are a team that is in the process of retooling and would love to have both of Minnesota's first-round picks to address multiple needs like offensive line and wide receiver.

The Vikings trading into the top five has been rumored heavily, and at this point seems like a given to happen. The only question that remains is whether the deal be consummated before or during the draft.

Option No. 4: The Big Swing

The last option for the Vikings is to swing big and move up into the top three.

Minnesota isn't going to get the first pick from the Bears, as there's no way they'll trade with a division rival. The Commanders' pick also seems unlikely, but perhaps Minnesota can convince the Patriots to move off of their selection. This would allow the Vikings to choose the guy they prefer between Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy and not have to settle for the scraps.

Trading up would be an exciting and unprecedented move by the franchise, and it would also be a very costly one.

Minnesota would probably have to give up picks No. 11, No. 23, next year's first-rounder, and maybe even their first-round pick in the 2026 draft.

The cost is so steep because not only are they trading into the top three picks to get the most premium position imaginable, but they also have to convince another team who needs a franchise quarterback to pass on one.

That means the Vikings are going to have to go Godfather on this and give New England an offer they can't refuse. It's going to take an obscene amount of picks for this to happen, and one that could set the franchise up for a long run of future success if it works or set them back years if it is a failure.

Adofo-Mensah seems willing to take the risk. He just needs to find a partner to dance with.

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