Perfect Picks 2024: Minnesota Vikings

By Lee Wakefield

So here we are, we have reached the point in the Perfect Picks series where the Minnesota Vikings enter the conversation. The Vikings, of course, made the intriguing move to acquire a second first-round pick in the middle of March, which made us all do our best Brian Windhorst impression, asking “Now, why is that?”. Because of this, and the consensus that the Vikings made this move in order to have the ammo to trade up again for a quarterback, I have taken the creative liberty of drafting a QB for Minnesota with their first selection.

Throughout the series, we usually give an extended write-up to the first-round pick, the second-round pick, a mid-round gem, and a late-round sleeper. Again, I need to be a little creative here. The Vikings’ picks after those first-rounders, which for the purpose of the exercise are being traded for a pick in the top five, don’t restart until round four and the 108th pick. So in place of our usual “second round” write-up, I’ve written up the “second selection”, which is for the 108th pick, and then followed it up with the usual mid-round gem and late-round sleeper. 

Whichever way you look at it, the Vikings are in for an interesting draft and come draft night, the board may fall in a way that makes them reluctant to trade up. Or, they could end up trading next year’s first instead of pick 23.

Who knows how the draft will actually shake out, but here goes our very liberal picks for the Minnesota Vikings.

Round 1 - J.J. McCarthy, Quarterback, Michigan

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So we kick off with J.J. McCarthy as our quarterback of the future in the twin cities. I feel like the most perfect pick for Kevin O’Connell would be Drake Maye, however, I don’t realistically see the Commanders passing up the opportunity to draft him, so I’ve opted for the former Michigan QB as he’s a much better scheme fit than the slender-framed Jayden Daniels.

Daniels works the middle of the field much less than McCarthy and is far less potent as a short and intermediate passer.

McCarthy however, has spent time in the Michigan system which is more pro-style, and is less reliant on playmaking with his legs than Daniels. McCarthy will be more than comfortable executing the kinds of plays that KOC will run. He’ll be happy to hand the ball off to Aaron Jones and feed Justin Jefferson.

McCarthy is rated as our QB3 in the Touchdown Draft Guide – which you can buy here for just £3.

McCarthy has some athletic upside too, and as much as he wasn’t asked to be the star of the offense for Michigan, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a star in the league. McCarthy can be a creative passer with a gunslinger mentality, whose flashes show that he may give the Vikings more upside than what they had in an aging Kirk Cousins, which is ultimately what they’re looking for in their next quarterback.

Second Selection (Round 4) - Cam Hart, Cornerback, Notre Dame

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With the second selection of their draft, the Vikings take Cam Hart from Notre Dame. Minnesota continues to add to their DB room with this pick, after Akayleb Evans ascended to a starting role last year, pairing with Byron Murphy on the outside as the team waits and hopes for former first-rounder Andrew Booth to break out.

Hart continues to add length to what is already a big cornerback room with Murphy, Evans, Booth and other depth pieces like Joejuan Williams and Mehki Blackmon, none of whom measure under 5’11.

Hart is 6’3 but as his relative athletic score suggests, he can move too. The film shows that he isn’t just an athlete either, he showed everyone at the Senior Bowl in particular that he can cover.

Hart has been a my guy throughout the draft process and I feel he can prove to be a player with starting calibre upside, and who will prove to be a bargain pick up if selected in this sort of range.

Mid-Round Gem - Beaux Limmer, IOL, Arkansas

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Beaux Limmer was a center for the Razorbacks but recently said when interviewed that he’s a “guard at heart”, so the Vikings take a player in round 4 who gives them some flexibility and depth on their offensive line.

Limmer played guard for Arkansas for 2 years before taking over at center when Ricky Stromberg left for the NFL, so it’s easy to see him competing for, and probably winning the starting left guard job, over 2020 sixth-round pick, Blake Brandel.

Limmer could also be a long-term replacement for Garrett Bradbury once he becomes a free agent in 2026. Giving Limmer 2 years at guard before moving to center, in the same manner as he did at Arkansas.

Limmer is a strong, powerful player, who front squats 700lbs. But he can also show some fluid movement skills when he’s asked to block on the move in the run game, something that a Shannahan-style offense will require of him.

Again, another bargain for the Vikings in the fourth round.

Late Round Sleeper - Blake Watson, Running Back, Memphis

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The Vikings brought in Aaron Jones to be their lead running back after his shock release from the divisional rival Packers – Something that could very easily backfire on Green Bay – But how about some support for him in the form of Blake Watson?

Minnesota has Ty Chandler and special teams ace, Kene Nwangwu behind Jones but I feel like Blake Watson could displace Chandler as the RB2 on this team due to his strong all around game, athletic profile and legitimate receiving skills.

Watson is an older prospect who will turn 25 in October and he’s taken a while to reach this point, having began his college career at Old Dominion and then transferring to Memphis for his fifth year of eligibility.

Watson was a combine snub too, which could be another factor that hurts his draft stock, however, at the Tiger’s pro day, Watson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and impressed in both the broad and vertical jumps, showing that he has the explosivity to play in the NFL.

Memphis usually has a type at running back too, and it involves being able to catch the ball. Think, Antonio Gibson, Kenneth Gainwell, Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard… Blake Watson is the next name to add to this list.

Watson had over 50 catches last year as well has over 1,000 yards on the ground. When you put up those sorts of numbers, it’s easy to see how the skillset translates to the league, especially when it’s a well-trodden path by players of the same position who’ve come out of the same school. Memphis Head Coach, Ryan Silverfield has led the programme since 2020, and before then he was their Run Game Coordinator under previous HC, Mike Norvell. So he’s a guy who knows how to send running backs to the NFL. 

Draft In Full:

Round 1 – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Round 4 – Cam Hart, CB, Notes Dame

Round 4 – Beaux Limmer, IOL, Arkansas 

Round 5 – DeWayne Carter, IDL, Duke

Round 5 – Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan

Round 6 – Blake Watson, RB, Memphis

Round 7 – Mark Perry, S, TCU

Round 7 – James Kromah, IDL, James Madison

Feature Image Credit:

Lee Wakefield