Vikings Draft 2024: 4 non-quarterbacks to target in the first round

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Cooper DeJean / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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Prospect No. 2

Jer'Zhan Newton - DT (Illinois)

The Vikings desperately need to beef up the interior of their defensive line.

Harrison Phillips has been fine in his stint with Minnesota, but there is absolutely zero production next to him, which has given the Vikings some fits in stopping the run and getting pressure up the gut.

Standout Illinois defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton is a clear first-round talent and arguably the best interior defensive lineman in the class.

With how the board is expected to fall on draft night, Minnesota may find Newton to be the best value on the board when they are on the clock.

Newton should end up being viewed as the top iDL prospect by a pretty wide margin this year, as he terrorized the Big Ten for multiple seasons and was one of the few reasons Illinois kept any game close in 2023.

His impact on the Penn State matchup alone should be enough to sway fans into thinking he can be a home run selection in the draft.

Newton finished that matchup with six tackles and a TFL but the eye test showed so much more.

Penn State, which features two incredible running backs, could not move the ball most of the afternoon. Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined to rush 24 times for just 91 yards.

Without a few goal-line stops from Newton, the final score would have been much worse than 30-13. His impact kept the Illini alive in the first half before they slowly derailed in the second half.

Newton is going to be a problem at the next level, and the Vikings may want to give him a look.