4 prospects the Vikings should hope don't end up in the NFC North in 2024

Former Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean
Former Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are just days away from the 2024 NFL Draft. Months of speculation will all come to a head, and we will know which players will be donning that most beautiful shade of purple for the 2024 season and beyond.

While the Vikings are focused on what they'll do, they also should be aware of what teams in their division are doing. The Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers are all trying to improve their respective squads. There's nothing worse than seeing a really good player, who has elite physical traits, get chosen by a hated division rival.

We will stick to round one for the most part in this piece and focus on some top-tier prospects that we would hate to see the Vikings have to face twice a season. We will also leave Caleb Williams out of this, as there's no doubt he'll be the top pick, and if he becomes what he's expected to become, he'll be a major problem for the Vikings for the next decade.

So, who are the four 2024 draft prospects the Vikings don't want to see end up in the NFC North?

2024 prospects the Minnesota Vikings should hope don't end up in the NFC North

Chicago Bears

Jared Verse - EDGE (Florida State)

Jared Verse is the total package when it comes to an edge prospect. He's got freak size and athletic ability. He's also extremely powerful, has a high football I.Q., and has production to boot. The dude's a freak and could be the best edge rusher chosen from this entire class.

While he's good enough on his own, what makes him extra scary is pairing him with Montez Sweat. The Bears traded for Sweat just before the deadline last year, and he had a major impact on their defense. He turned that unit into a strength and was consistently in opponents' backfields, terrorizing quarterbacks.

Poor Josh Dobbs didn't know what hit him when Sweat was constantly bearing down on him last season. Now, put a guy like Verse across from him, and he becomes even more dangerous. Who is going to get double-teamed in that tandem? It's not possible.

If Sweat ended up with the Bears, the Vikings' game plan every week would have to be to effectively run the football. The passing game plan would be getting it out quick with max protection, and three-step drops at the most. That duo would be a major headache to deal with. Verse is an explosive player, and if he ended up in Chicago, it would be a total misery for the Vikings.

Green Bay Packers

Cooper DeJean - CB/S (Iowa)

There's nothing worse than when the Green Bay Packers land a stud in the draft. Vikings fans love seeing the Packers reach for players or take guys that don't pan out. This year, after the Vikings pick, every fan who bleeds purple should be rooting for Cooper DeJean to go off the board before the Packers pick because he's going to be a problem in the NFL for opposing offenses.

DeJean is a dude on the football field. He can hit, he can cover, he can line up in the slot, he can line up outside. He can play safety, he can play corner, and he's an excellent punt returner. He's just a versatile weapon that has incredible football instincts. The bust factor with this kid is at about zero. It would suck seeing him end up in that disgusting Packers' yellow and green disaster they call a uniform.

DeJean is a playmaker, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him make plays that win ball games. He'd also be a headache when punting the football. His innate ability to return punts would lead to the Packers offense getting good field position the majority of the time the ball is punted.

Talent-wise, DeJean should be a top-15 pick, but he's coming off an injury, and that could push him down the board a bit. Vikings fans should be praying he doesn't make it to the Packers because if he does and they take him, he could be a thorn in the Vikings' behind for years to come.

Detroit Lions

Chop Robinson - EDGE (Penn State)

The Lions are a team that should look to improve their defensive line with their first-round pick. Picking 29th, they are left with the scraps in the first round, but they could see an explosive edge rusher land in their Honolulu blue laps.

Chop Robinson does one thing, and he does one thing very well, and that is rush the passer. He's got a crazy quick get-off, has a large repertoire of pass-rushing moves, and closes in on the passer in a hurry.

The only reason he'll still be available at the end of the first round is because he brings nothing to the run game. He's a one-trick pony at this stage of his career, and for the Lions, that should be just fine.

The Lions have to find someone to pair with Aidan Hutchinson. For some reason, they signed Marcus Davenport in the offseason. That was a waste of money, as all Vikings fans know, because he'll likely spend the majority of the season on the sideline.

Robinson can instead come in on passing situations, and the Lions can pin their ears back and let that duo destroy quarterbacks.

Like the Bears with a Verse/Sweat pairing, when it comes to Hutchinson and Robinson, who is going to get the double team? If you double one, the other is going to have a free shot at your quarterback.

It would be a bunch of quick throws or runs to neutralize that rush, and that sounds like a headache for the Vikings or any other team that would face the Lions if they go this route.

All Teams

T'Vondre Sweat - DT (Texas)

Vikings fans seem to love T'Vondre Sweat and to see him in any colors of fellow NFC North teams would be horrifying. Sweat is a 6-foot-3, 360-pound behemoth. He can plug running lanes, and he can also collapse the pocket with his quickness and immense power.

He's a fun guy to watch and with his massive frame and ability to change a game, he will be an instant fan favorite to the team that lands him.

Sweat can provide some pass rush, and has violent hands he uses to shed blocks. He also has a natural knack for knowing when to stick his big arms up to bat down passes.

What makes him even more endearing is that he played a little offense in his time at Texas, and he even caught a touchdown pass. The dude would be fun to watch if he ends up in purple. If he ends up in Green Bay, Detroit, or Chicago, that fun would disappear.

It'll be interesting to see where Sweat goes in the draft. After his recent DUI arrest and history of partying, he could see a draft day tumble. Hopefully, he falls all the way to Minnesota at pick No. 108. If not, the Vikings should hope he's taken by a team that is far away, like in the AFC East.

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