Vikings Draft 2024: Pre-free agency 7-round mock draft

Former Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy
Former Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Third-Round Pick (69th overall)

Maason Smith - IDL (LSU)

After a long hiatus between selections, the Vikings come back and take a promising young defensive lineman to boost the trenches.

Maason Smith looked like a superstar early in his career at LSU but missed pretty much the entire 2022 season with an injury. After a strong 2023, Smith still shows promise but has slipped out of the initial first-round conversation.

Minnesota needs help along the defensive line and could really use depth with edge rushers, but with how this board fell, Smith was the best player for their needs. They need someone who can limit the run and provide some pressure up the gut while they sort out the future of their pass rush.

The dream in this draft would be to land one of the premier defensive tackles, but without their second-round pick, that dream seems far-fetched. Instead, the Vikings can take a swing on Maason Smith as one of the more enticing players of the group.

As a freshman in 2021, Smith recorded 4.0 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss in seven games for the Tigers. After missing his sophomore season, Smith returned in 2023 and tallied 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss before declaring for the NFL Draft.

This would make back-to-back selections in which the Vikings swing for upside in a draft where they really need to hit their picks.