Which Teams are Most Likely to Steal the Vikings’ Top QB Target in NFL Draft?

Vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that the Minnesota Vikings are now hyper-focused on identifying the next franchise quarterback. That process will only amplify after adding another first-round pick. Yet, the Vikings are far from the only team eyeing one of the four quarterbacks projected to become first-round picks on April 25.

Still, neither of Minnesota’s two 1st-round picks (11, 23) is expected to be high enough to land the QB prospect Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell covet most. That means the Vikings will likely have to complete another blockbuster trade up the draft board to land someone like Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, or J.J. McCarthy.

What teams are Minnesota Vikings keeping on watch during draft?

NCAA Football: North Carolina at North Carolina State
Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

So, if the plan is to trade up, which teams do the Vikings need to make sure they jump ahead of in order to make that happen? Here’s a quick snapshot of how the 2024 NFL Draft order stands right now:

  1. Chicago Bears
  2. Washington Commanders
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Los Angeles Chargers
  6. New York Giants
  7. Tennessee Titans
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Chicago Bears
  10. New York Jets
  11. Minnesota Vikings
  12. Denver Broncos
  13. Las Vegas Raiders

Don’t expect anything in top four picks

We think we can cross both Chicago and Washington off the list right away now. Chances are, the Bears won’t pass up on the opportunity to draft Caleb Williams, who some regard as a ‘generational talent.’

The same likely goes for Washington, after they traded last year’s starter Sam Howell to Seattle, leaving Marcus Mariota as their top internal option. In other words, they have to go QB at No. 2, right? You’d think so… but NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah thinks the Commanders are more likely to trade back than the Patriots..

“I believe that it’s likely that Washington stays and takes one of those two guys. But I would think Washington, of the two, would be more likely to at least listen because of what they need on that roster and where they are.”

“Between those two, from Washington and New England, it feels to me like Washington would be the one that maybe would at least listen to what these offers are.”

Daniel Jeremiah on the Josh Gelb Show (quote via @vikesinsider – X)

There have been some reports swirling since the Vikings originally made their trade yesterday, that New England at No. 3 could be the team to partner with the Vikings. But does that make sense for the Patriots, who are in a similar situation to Washington (Mac Jones already traded, leaving the recently signed Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe).

Related: Reports Suggest Vikings are Targeting Patriots’ No. 3 Overall Pick and… Drake Maye

Why would these teams pass on possible DUDES like Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye, in exchange for backup quarterbacks. This is supposed to be an all-time QB class. There’s a reason why we believe the Vikings are desperate to move up.

Opportunities at franchise-changing quarterbacks don’t come around very often, especially if you already hold a pick to take one, without leveraging future assets. In other words, I don’t expect the Patriots to move off from No. 3, just like I don’t expect the Commanders to move off of No 2.

Then, you get to Arizona, where Kyler Murray is entrenched as the franchise QB. Some experts see them as a perfect fit with the Vikings at No. 4 but you gotta have two to tango and if the Cardinals made a deal with the Vikings to move all the way back to 11, they will miss out on Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Cardinals may welcome another trade down the board to accumulate more first-rounders as they attempt to assemble difference-makers around Murray.

Jeff Howe – The Athletic

Sure, I get Howe’s point. But the Cardinals biggest need is at wide receiver, especially after letting Hollywood Brown sign in Kansas City. Harrison Jr is seen as the best non-QB prospect in the draft, a rare “sure thing”. Passing up on a sure thing at a position of need, especially a position as important as WR? That sounds like a great way to get fired. In other words, I’m not convinced the Cardinals want to make a deal with the Vikings either.

Positions 5-10 are all great landing spots for whoever wants QB most

To me, shit gets real at pick number 5. That’s where you start to get teams that are going to be most willing to trade back. At No. 5, the Los Angeles Chargers have Justin Herbert, who isn’t going anywhere.

No. 5 – Chargers: You can ignore those crazy crackpot theories that Jim Harbaugh is so in love with J.J. McCarthy that he could convince the GM to trade a proven commodity in Herbert for a chance to start over. It’s not happening. That’s why this is the first prime trade up partner for the Minnesota Vikings and could help explain yesterday’s trade.

The Chargers need to pull themselves out of salary cap hell and using more first round picks to fill positions of need with high-end, cheap talent seems like a great way to make that happen. In return, the Vikings get (likely) JJ McCarthy.

No. 6 – Giants: There’s been a lot of talk about the Giants picking a QB at six, but we’re not buying those smokescreens. Again, they have far more pressing needs and they’ve openly committed to Daniel Jones for at least one more season. They’re blaming themselves for trying to ruin Jones, essentially. Here’s Giants co-owner John Mara explaining how his team has done everything possible to set up their young QB to fail.

Related: 2024 Minnesota Vikings Mock Draft – 3.0 w/Two First-Round Picks

After signing Jones to a $160-million contract last offseason, it would be maniacal to move on from him just 12 months later. Again, that’s how you get fired, real fast. Instead, expect the Giants to take the best receiver available to finally pair their dual-threat QB with a true threat, especially now that Saquon Barkley has left for greener pastures.

Otherwise, whichever rookie the Giants draft would be surrounded by an incompetent cast of skill position players, which again, would be setting him up to fail too.

Let’s get this out of the way: Daniel Jones is expected to be the New York Giants’ starting quarterback as soon as he’s healthy enough to assume the role.

The arrival of Drew Lock didn’t change that sentiment, though Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider surely added some confusion to the situation Thursday during a radio appearance on Seattle Sports 710AM.

Jeff Howe – The Athletic

No. 7 – Titans: At No. 7, the Titans are moving forward with Will Levis, who their GM traded up to select No. 33 overall in 2023. After showing positive signs across nine starts as a rookie, it’s far too early to move on from the 24-year-old now. They’re not even thinking about a QB yet.

No. 8 – Falcons: We know what the Falcons are in for. Kirk Cousins is the starter, and now they’ve traded places with the Vikings, where they’ll be heavily scouting quarterbacks for the next two to three years, but drafting one now is out of the question for a team that believes they can win now. This is another prime trade-down candidate.

Related: 10 Best Minnesota Vikings QBs of All-Time

No. 9 – Bears: We’ve seen Adofo-Mensah execute inner-division trades before, and while the fans don’t seem to understand it, there’s no reason not to negotiate. But the Bears aren’t taking another QB at No. 9. However, again, this could be a team who trades down, but they may see more value in grabbing one of the top offensive tackles, pass rushers, or receivers available.

No. 10 – Jets: The Jets have Aaron Rodgers, and we can’t imagine he’d be too happy seeing his team take a QB in the first-round when everyone knows their window to compete is very limited. We wouldn’t expect a trade down either, they’ll likely take the best prospect available, such as a wide receiver or pass rusher.

Then, we finally get to the Vikings, who could now be in a prime position to take a QB right here, but it’s not that simple. If there’s a prospect the front office is 100% convinced can be their next franchise QB, then they must do everything possible to land him, even trading up to ensure no one behind them jumps ahead.

Teams that may want to jump the Vikings for a QB

No. 12 – Broncos: At No. 12, we have the Denver Broncos, who are the most QB-needy team in the NFL right now. They’re not going into a season with Jarrett Stidham, who some call the NFL’s worst starting QB.

Yet, after making blockbuster trades for Russell Wilson and Sean Payton, the Broncos may not have the draft capital to swing a massive move up the board. Owning picks 12 and 76 doesn’t come close to owning 11 and 23, as the Vikings do. The Broncos could always get aggressive and offer a future first-round pick too.

However, teams always value what you can offer them now over what gets delivered in the future, meaning the Vikings’ offer of two immediate first-round picks may be valued more than one now, and one later, depending on if the team they’re trading with is focused on winning now, or building for the future.

Related: Vikings Reportedly Offered Kirk Cousins a Multi-Year Deal with Guarantees in Year-2

No. 13 – Raiders: The same goes for the Raiders at No. 13. Gardner Minshew II and Aidan O’Connell are not the future in Las Vegas. Yet, since they’re so far back here in the draft, the Raiders didn’t have a choice but to make other plans in free agency.

However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be one of the NFL’s most aggressive teams when considering a trade up. They have much more draft capital than the Broncos, possessing the 13th, 44th, and 77th pick, and if they toss in a future first, that’s a lot of ammo. But still not more than the Vikings’ offer of 11 + 23, plus whatever else Adofo-Mensah is willing to pay.

In summation, it’s hard to know exactly what will shake out between now and April 25, which might be why we saw a trade yesterday, but no additional trade up into the top-5, like many expected. The Vikings may have to move to #5… but there is a world where they only have to move a couple of spots, or they don’t have to move at all.

It’s a dangerous game, though. If you buy that there is a HUGE dropoff, after JJ McCarthy, then living in a world where someone surprises you or you’re outbid in a trade up by the Broncos, the Vikings would theoretically have a big problem on their hands, leaving them with lower tiered options such as Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix.

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