3 Vikings who won’t be back after the 2024 NFL Draft

The Vikings leave the 2024 NFL Draft as big winners, but it won't end well for some players in Minnesota.
Minnesota Vikings EDGE Dallas Turner
Minnesota Vikings EDGE Dallas Turner / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings were deemed the team to watch in the 2024 NFL Draft months in advance. With Kirk Cousins' free agency departure, this was a franchise many expected to be aggressive in trading up for a quarterback prospect. Ultimately, though, they didn't have to be. A shocking Michael Penix Jr. pick later, and Minnesota only had to trade up one spot to land J.J. McCarthy.

Armed with the 23rd overall pick after that still and not needing to trade it to move up, the Vikings did move up from that spot too when Dallas Turner got in range, drafting the explosive edge rusher. That left them without a Day 2 pick, but the Vikings got active again on Day 3 and completed an impressive draft class that vaults the club right back into the NFC North playoff picture.

Unfortunately, the harsh reality of the NFL Draft is that with incoming players, some players are going to get pushed out. For the Minnesota Vikings specifically, the way this year's draft went almost guarantees these players won't be back for the 2024 season.

3. Andre Carter II won't return to the Vikings with Dallas Turner coming in

Reshaping the outside pass rush was a clear priority for the Vikings that continued into the draft. On the heels of signing Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel and Jihad Ward in free agency after Danielle Hunter's departure, Minnesota then traded up to the No. 17 pick and stopped Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner's surprising slide outside the top-half of the first round in the draft.

Turner entering this fray for Brian Flores' defense could be truly special. Greenard has developed into a fully formed pass-rusher, so having the explosive rookie opposite him on the edge could yield big results, especially with Van Ginkel and Ward best-suited for situational and rotational roles. Having said that, Turner's arrival is not good news deeper on the depth chart for Andre Carter II.

The former Army Black Knights star made the Vikings 53-man roster last season after signing as a UDFA. That, however, may have been speaking more to the lack of depth there. With this offseason reshaping, it will likely come down to Carter and Pat Jones II as the fifth edge rusher this team keeps on the roster. As a 2021 third-round pick, though, Jones still would seemingly be the better fit, which likely means Carter ends up on the Minnesota practice squad or with one of the other 31 teams in the league come Week 1.

2. Joejuan Williams won't be back with Vikings after Khyree Jackson pick

After picking twice in the Top 20, the one downside to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's aggressive approach trading up this offseason was that the Vikings weren't on the clock again until Day 3 in the fourth round. With that selection, though, they landed a great value pick and potentially impactful player as they selected Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson.

Jackson is raw with just over a dozen starts in college, but 6-foot-4, 194-pound cornerbacks who play to their size don't grow on trees. The upside is immense with the Ducks standout and it helps Brian Flores' defense find more options in the secondary. In doing so, though, the flier that the club took on former Patriots second-round pick Joejuan Williams likely will be a thing of the past.

Williams, who struggled to catch on in New England, signed with the Minnesota practice squad after not making the 53-man roster in camp and the preseason. He was claimed by the Bears early in the year, but ultimately ended up back with the Vikings and saw some time on the active roster before being signed to a reserve/futures contract in January. But with Jackson coming in now, it's hard to see Williams cracking the depth chart over the rookie, Byron Murphy Jr., Akayleb Evans, Josh Metellus, Mekhi Blackmon, NaJee Thompson, Andrew Booth Jr., or even Shaq Griffin.

1. Nick Mullens can say goodbye to Vikings now that J.J. McCarthy is here

It certainly didn't happen how many mock drafts were projecting it would going into the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, but the Vikings came away with their hopeful quarterback of the future. In a vacuum, it's ideal that they only had to trade minimal late-round capital to move up from No. 11 to No. 10 in order to select J.J. McCarthy.

There arguably isn't a better spot for McCarthy with the Vikings' infrastructure offensively under Kevin O'Connell. The head coach will undoubtedly ease his new signal-caller into the fold but the weapons and offensive line have him set up for success, as does the possibility of playing behind Sam Darnold.

But McCarthy and Darnold will surely occupy two of the spots on Minnesota's QB depth chart, meaning that Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall will be left to battle it out for QB3/emergency QB duties. In reality, though, it shouldn't be much of a battle at all. Hall, a 2023 fifth-round pick, is a higher-upside developmental project than Mullens while the Vikings brought in Darnold to be a veteran backup. That leaves Mullens with no inroad to make the roster barring injury.

Next. Grading every first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft: Falcons bomb, Vikings and Chiefs score. Grading every first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft: Falcons bomb, Vikings and Chiefs score. dark