Vikings Mock Draft: Minnesota trades up for J.J. McCarthy, adds another QB on Day 3

Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

We have now entered the month of April, which means in just a few short weeks, we will finally get to find out how the Minnesota Vikings will be using their selections in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Most are expecting the Vikings to use an early-round pick on a quarterback, as the team said goodbye to longtime starting signal-caller Kirk Cousins earlier this offseason. With two selections in the opening round, Minnesota can take a number of different paths to draft a potential replacement for Cousins.

In this particular 2024 Vikings-specific mock draft, Minnesota not only uses one of their early picks on one of the top quarterback prospects, but they also decide to add another passing prospect with one of their selections on Day 3.

2024 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings 7-Round Mock Draft

First-Round Pick (4th Overall)

J.J. McCarthy - QB Michigan

TRADE: Vikings acquire picks No. 4 and No. 66 (Third Round) from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for picks No. 11 and No. 23

Before the start of this year's pre-draft process, very few people believed J.J. McCarthy had the potential to be one of the first quarterbacks to come off of the board in the 2024 draft.

But as more people sat down and deeply evaluated McCarthy during the last few months, many now think he could be selected with one of the first five selections in this year's NFL Draft.

So, that's exactly what happens here.

Minnesota is able to work out a trade with the Cardinals that not only allows the Vikings to keep their first-round pick in 2025, but they end up acquiring a third-round selection in this year's draft as well.

Oh yeah, and Minnesota lands a quarterback who has the potential to be their starter for the next decade and beyond.

Third-Round Pick (66th Overall)

Kris Jenkins - DL (Michigan)

After adding McCarthy in the opening round, the Vikings decide to select another member of Michigan's national championship roster in defensive lineman Kris Jenkins.

At 6-foot-3 and 299 pounds, Jenkins is described by PFF as "one of the strongest players" in the entire 2024 draft pool, and he ranked in the 99th percentile in 2023 in terms of run-stop percentage.

Despite finishing with eight sacks last season, his pass-rushing skills are viewed as an area of his game that could use some improving. Still, Jenkins has the potential to come in and make an immediate impact for a Minnesota defensive line that is need of some better talent.

Fourth-Round Pick No. 1 (108th Overall)

Audric Estime - RB (Notre Dame)

Following the departure of Alexander Mattison this offseason, Kene Nwangwu is currently the biggest running back on the Vikings' roster at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds.

So, in an effort to make sure they have a running back on their roster who they can pound through the middle of the offensive line in short-yardage situations, Minnesota goes with Audric Estime in the fourth round.

At 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds, Estime was extremely tough for opposing defenses to bring down during his career at Notre Dame. This was on display in 2023 when he forced 64 missed tackles and gained 892 rushing yards after contact, which ranked ninth in the country.

Estime wasn't much of a receiving threat out of the backfield during his college career (just 26 career catches), but he didn't have a single drop, and with guys like Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler on the Vikings' roster, he likely wouldn't be asked to run many passing routes as a running back in Minnesota anyways.

Minnesota Vikings
Former Michigan guard Trevor Keegan / G Fiume/GettyImages

Fourth-Round Pick No. 2 (129th Overall)

Trevor Keegan - OG (Michigan)

The Vikings haven't re-signed Dalton Risner yet this offseason, so currently, Blake Brandel is in line to begin the 2024 season as the team's starting left guard.

Considering how little starting experience Brandel has in his NFL career (five starts since 2020), Minnesota decides to add some competition for the starting left guard job this year by picking Trevor Keegan in the fourth round.

Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, Keegan was an above-average pass-blocker for Michigan last season, and during the last three years, he only allowed a total of three sacks in 994 pass-blocking opportunities.

His run-blocking abilities need improvement, but with the Vikings, his skills as a pass blocker would give him the potential to beat out Brandel and emerge as the team's Week 1 starter for next season.

Fifth-Round Pick No. 1 (140th Overall)

Joe Milton - QB (Tennessee)

TRADE: Vikings acquire pick No. 140 from the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for pick No. 157 (Fifth Round) and a fifth-round selection in 2025.

With two fifth-round selections in the 2025 NFL Draft in their possession, Minnesota decides to use one of them this year to add former Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton to their roster.

Milton has a ton of intriguing physical traits (6-foot-5, 235 pounds, gigantic arm, 4.56 time in the 40-yard dash), but he needs a lot of developmental work if he's ever going to have a career in the NFL as a starting quarterback.

With Milton, the Vikings would have an insurance plan if McCarthy ends up not working out, or they would have a quarterback who could potentially help them acquire additional assets as a future trade piece.

Fifth-Round Pick No. 2 (167th Overall)

Luke McCaffrey - WR (Rice)

With Minnesota's offense likely to continue centering around their passing attack for as long as head coach Kevin O'Connell is calling the plays, using a draft selection on a wide receiver is hardly ever a bad idea.

The Vikings found out the hard way last season that their depth behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison is something that needs an upgrade before the 2024 campaign. Combine this with the departure of K.J. Osborn in free agency earlier this year, and Minnesota ends up using their second fifth-round pick in the 2024 draft on former Rice receiver Luke McCaffrey.

The brother of Christian and son of Ed, Luke has good size at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, and despite working a bunch in the slot last season, he has sneaky speed (4.47 time in the 40-yard dash) that allows him to get by defenders and haul in passes downfield.

There will be a competition for the No. 3 wide receiver job at Vikings training camp this summer, and McCaffrey has the talent to beat out guys like Brandon Powell and Jalen Nailor for that role.

Sixth-Round Pick (177th Overall)

Jalen Green - EDGE (James Madison)

After adding Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Jihad Ward in free agency this offseason, the need for an edge rusher is no longer very high for Minnesota as they head into this year's NFL Draft.

Still, pass-rushing depth is something that no team in the league can never have enough of, so in the sixth round, the Vikings decide to take a chance on former James Madison edge rusher Jalen Green.

Green's 18 sacks were leading the nation in 2023 before he unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. He's still in the middle of rehabbing his injury, but if he makes a full recovery, he has the potential to end up becoming a gigantic steal for Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings
Former NC State center Dylan McMahon / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

Seventh-Round Pick No. 1 (230th Overall)

Dylan McMahon - C (NC State)

Garrett Bradbury has been slightly better since Kevin O'Connell became Minnesota's head coach in 2022, but the improvement isn't enough to prevent the team from considering other options in the near future.

In an effort to begin the process of finding a potential replacement for Bradbury, the Vikings turn to former North Carolina State center Dylan McMahon.

At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, McMahon isn't a gigantic offensive lineman, but he was solid as both a run-blocker and a pass-blocker at NC State last season, and in the last two years at the school, he only allowed a total of two sacks.

He also spent time at both guard spots during his college career, and that kind of versatility is something the Vikings tend to covet in their offensive linemen.

Seventh-Round Pick No. 2 (232nd Overall)

Isaiah Davis - RB (South Dakota State)

At this point in the draft, teams tend to just go with the best player who is left on the board, and that's what Minnesota does here when they use their final 2024 selection on former South Dakota State running back Isaiah Davis.

In each of his last two seasons at South Dakota State, Davis finished with at least 1,450 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns, and a yards-per-carry average of 5.8.

The Vikings used a seventh-round pick on DeWayne McBride last year and that didn't turn out as well as they had hoped. So, they make another attempt to land a solid late-round running back and hope that Davis is able to make a bigger impact than McBride was in 2023.

(All statistics are courtesy of unless stated otherwise.)

More Vikings News and Analysis