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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Fifth-Round Pick (156th overall)

Javon Baker - WR (UCF)

I have grown to love the idea of drafting Javon Baker to be an explosive threat in the vertical passing game. Baker was a home run hitter at UCF after transferring from Alabama, and his ability to swing momentum is going to get him drafted with a chance to crack a roster.

The Vikings have plenty of weapons to share the ball with, but K.J. Osborn is set to be a free agent and if he leaves, the Vikings will need a tertiary target on the outside. Defenses would be tested every single play with Baker lining up alongside Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, as any of those guys could burn them for a long play.

For as much as the Vikings need interior offensive line help and depth in the backfield, the value with Baker at this spot was simply too good to pass up. He can be such a difference-maker in an offense that already has the firepower to score at will.

He averaged 21.9 yards per catch last season with UCF and scored seven touchdowns as he really broke onto the scene prior to his departure for the NFL. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver racked up over 1,100 yards and had some monster performances in big games.

Baker went for 134 yards and two touchdowns on the road against Oklahoma as the Knights nearly pulled off the upset. He also caught four passes for 112 yards as UCF blew out a then-ranked Oklahoma State 45-3. His final game of the season was arguably his most impressive, as Baker caught nine balls for 173 yards and a score against Georgia Tech.

The Vikings would be smart to replace Osborn with a player who can shift a game in the blink of an eye while also staying on that rookie salary scale.