Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Minnesota Vikings? What are they saying about the Vikings' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: B+

Day 1 grade: A-
Day 2 grade: B+
Day 3 grade: B-

Analysis: The Vikings gave up pick value in 2023, Day 3 picks this year and much of their 2025 draft in moves that landed them McCarthy, tight end T.J. Hockenson (in a 2022 deadline deal with Detroit) and edge rusher Turner. McCarthy and Turner possess the skill set to make that investment worthwhile, though McCarthy will need to continue his winning ways at the next level and Turner must be an impact defender.

Jackson is a Riq Woolen-type corner, long and quick-footed, who presents excellent value in the fourth round. Rouse is a strong, experienced lineman who takes over for departed veteran Oli Udoh as the swing tackle. Don't overlook Jurgens' chances of making the roster. Reichard is the FBS' all-time leading scorer, and the Vikings need a reliable field goal kicker; I'm interested in how his career compares with that of Cam Little, who was picked by the Jags with pick No. 212.

ESPN - Grade: C+

Top needs entering the draft: Quarterback, cornerback, wide receiver

So long, Kirk Cousins; hello, J.J. McCarthy (10). One of the most intriguing storylines to watch over the past two months was the Vikings likely having to make a trade up if they wanted to get the fourth quarterback on the board. Turns out, they didn't need to move as high as we thought ... and they actually got the fifth passer in the class because of Atlanta's surprising selection of Michael Penix Jr. As I wrote Thursday night, McCarthy lands in a spot with excellent pass-catchers and a gifted game-planner; he's going to be put in a position to succeed in Year 1.

My qualm about GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's class has more to do with mortgaging the future of this Minnesota roster. He made the move in March to get an extra first-rounder at No. 23, which cost him a second-round pick next year. And to trade up from No. 23 to No. 17, he had to give the Jaguars his 2025 third- and fourth-rounders. That means the Vikings have just three selections next year: one in Round 1 and two in Round 5. With a rookie quarterback under center, are they really in position to go all-in right now? This is after they had just two picks in Rounds 1-3 this year.

Dallas Turner (17) is my top-ranked edge rusher, but Minnesota had a greater need at cornerback. This defense ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed to receivers (3,019) last season. I was a little surprised Adofo-Mensah didn't target one of the top corners instead. He finally went corner with his next pick, but that was all the way in Round 4. Khryee Jackson (108) is a 6-3 defensive back who allowed just one touchdown in coverage last season.

Walter Rouse (177) could be Minnesota's swing tackle as a rookie. The Vikings started a run on kickers in Round 6, but they took Will Reichard (203), my third-ranked player at the position, ahead of the top two.

Can coach Kevin O'Connell turn McCarthy into a top-10 passer? That's the question that will linger with this Minnesota class, which is extremely top-heavy. Plus, I'm factoring in Adofo-Mensah's moves that upended the team's 2025 draft.

The Ringer - Grade: C+

WHILE MANY HAD EXPECTED THE VIKINGS TO MAKE A MAJOR MOVE UP THE BOARD FOR A QUARTERBACK ON DRAFT NIGHT, MINNESOTA ENDED UP MAKING JUST A SMALL, ONE-SPOT JUMP TO SECURE THEIR FUTURE FRANCHISE PASSER. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy will be the defining pick for this class for the Vikings, but I'm bullish on his potential as he lands on a team with a strong supporting cast. Throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson gives the 21-year old signal-caller a chance to excel early in his career. The Vikings also leveraged later picks (a fifth-rounder this year plus third- and fourth-rounders in 2025) to move up and grab a high-upside pass rusher in Alabama's Dallas Turner, giving the team an ascending defender to pair with newly-signed Jonathan Greenard. Ultimately, though, the team is putting a whole lot of eggs into two baskets. Minnesota mortgaged future picks to land McCarthy and Turner (Turner alone cost the Vikings six total picks, when counting the trade up into the 23rd spot prior to the draft), leaving the team with very little draft capital in 2025 (a first and two fifths, plus a conditional 7th). It's a big gamble, and if either player falls short, it could set Minnesota back dramatically.

USA Today - Grade: A-

After losing QB Kirk Cousins in free agency, they went on the offensive and obtained a second first-round choice from Houston last month — a move presumed to necessitate a subsequent climb up the board. But GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah played his cards right and got to select twice in Round 1 — coming away with highly regarded but highly divisive Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy and highly regarded (period) Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner. The third-round spot was cashed in two years ago as part of a trade deadline deal for Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson. The kicking game should be boosted by sixth-rounder Will Reichard of the Crimson Tide.

Fox Sports - Grade: A

The Vikings needed a quarterback and got one. Though he likely wasn't their first choice (they reportedly tried to trade up to No. 3 presumably to select Drake Maye), this may have ended up being the ideal scenario. They needed to trade up just one spot from their first pick at No. 11 to select Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was still aggressive with the No. 23 pick, trading up to No. 17 to get Alabama edge Dallas Turner, widely considered one of the best defenders in the draft. Both are arguably top-10 prospects. The drawback is that the Vikings are now extremely low on draft capital next year. They have their first-round pick and just two fifth-round picks. They should expect at least one if not two third-round compensatory picks for losing Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter to free agency, but their roster is in solid shape, especially after adding another corner in Khyree Jackson from Oregon and multiple offensive linemen for depth. The Vikings almost certainly won the first round, but they may win the entire draft if McCarthy pans out. —Vitali

CBS Sports - Grade: B-

Best Pick: The Vikings moved up in the first round to take pass rusher Dallas Turner. That was a good move. He will be a big-time rusher in Brian Flores' scheme. Turner's best pass-rushing days are ahead of him.

Worst Pick: I get the whole idea of finding a quarterback, and landing J.J. McCarthy where they did makes sense, but I don't love his game. He just shot up boards after the season, and I never saw it. I thought he would be a late first-round pick.

The Skinny: Like all the teams that took quarterbacks, their drafts will be defined by how well they play. That's the Vikings with McCarthy. Even if Turner becomes a true star, which I think he will, this draft is about McCarthy. Period. They also traded a lot of future picks to get McCarthy and Turner, so they better be stars.

Sporting News - Grade: A

Analysis: The Vikings could have rested on McCarthy for their passing game and both Turner and Jackson for the pass defense and had a solid draft. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn't waste time pleasing Kevin O'Connell and Brian Flores to accelerate a rebuild. They made good use of moving up to go for high-upside quality over pure quantity. Reichard also filled a key need.

SI - Grade: C+

Analysis: I think I am going to regret my dislike of the Vikings draft, just like I did with the Texans draft a year ago. I didn't quite see the value of the Dallas Turner trade, but if defensive coordinator Brian Flores can get the best out of him, what's the difference at the end of the day? I thought the Vikings should have been more aggressive to get the quarterback they really wanted, but I also think that Kevin O'Connell is going to make it work with McCarthy.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: C+

Trading up for a quarterback in McCarthy whose skill set most closely resembles Alex Smith in a league that covets explosive plays and the prevention of explosive plays most of all is certainly... a decision.

But trading up again for an edge-rusher in Dallas Turner who can scald off the edge and adds his name to a group that already includes Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel? Well, defensive coordinator Brian Flores is going to have some serious guys to execute his insane blitz packages. I'm a big fan of Khyree Jackson as a scheme-transcendent cornerback, and Walter Rouse has interesting potential as a power tackle.

But man... this draft all hinges on McCarthy and a defense that didn't get as much help as it needed, and that's kind of scary.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups