Minnesota Vikings 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft pre-free agency: Trade up for QB

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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All indications are that this will be a turning-of-the-page type of offseason for the Minnesota Vikings as they move forward to 2024. It's hard to imagine a realistic world where Kirk Cousins returns, Danielle Hunter is likely gone as well, and this is a roster that needs a plethora of defensive help and a better outlook for the future.

That makes the 2024 NFL Draft absolutely crucial, especially given that the Vikings, even after some maneuvering, are going to be behind the 8-ball financially entering free agency. They have to be wisely aggressive, especially to make Justin Jefferson happy amid contract extension talks.

So what does that mean -- and could it mean an aggressive trade up from the No. 11 pick -- for the Vikings in the draft? We're here to project what could happen before free agency begins as we break down a full 7-round projection for Minnesota in this 2024 NFL mock draft.

Round 1, Pick 3 (via NE): J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

If Kirk Cousins is indeed not coming back, then the Vikings need to be aggressive in getting their quarterback in the draft. Standing pat at No. 11 is likely not an option, especially with a recent report from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. that Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy could surpass UNC's Drake Maye in terms of where he's drafted.

That could mean a flurry of quarterbacks coming off of the board in the Top 5 picks. So if the Vikings need a quarterback -- and they do -- that means they have to trade into that position. The Patriots are the most likely dance partner for that, and a deal such as this should be enough to get the deal done.

Vikings 3

McCarthy is the biggest wild card in the 2024 NFL Draft, but the talent and potential are obvious. His arm is NFL-caliber, and he brings plus athleticism to the table. There are also numerous times on film from his time at Michigan where you can see why pro teams are enamored with what he could become as an NFL signal-caller.

The biggest hangup is that McCarthy is not a fully realized player at this point in his development through no fault of his own. The Michigan offense simply didn't put much on his shoulders because it didn't need to. But the upside is tremendous and, if the Vikings can also bring in a veteran stopgap like a Jacoby Brissett in free agency, McCarthy has the tools to be worth this trade and the franchise's future at quarterback.