What if the Minnesota Vikings can’t trade up for QB? Best picks to make at 11

What do the Minnesota Vikings do with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft if their rumored attempts to move up the board for one of the top quarterback prospects are unsuccessful?

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The Minnesota Vikings seeking to move up the 2024 NFL Draft board from the No. 11 pick to secure their next franchise quarterback following Kirk Cousins signing with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason is one of the worst-kept secrets in football.

Caleb Williams (USC) ending up with the Chicago Bears as the first overall pick is all but a formality. But many anticipate the following two picks will also be quarterbacks, whether it be Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (UNC), or J.J. McCarthy (Michigan). So Minnesota likely needs to move into the top three or four selections to ensure they secure one of these players.

However, there is a robust market to land one of the top signal-callers, who are all expected to hear their names called early in the first round on draft night, meaning a bidding war could be in store. 

The Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants have also found themselves in a similar situation, which is why the Vikings adding a second first-round pick (No. 23) as part of a trade with the Houston Texans this offseason has only added fuel to the fire regarding their desire to land any of the previously mentioned prospects.

But what if the Vikings' attempt to trade up for a quarterback is unsuccessful? Who do they target with the eleventh pick?

Who do the Vikings pick at No. 11 if they can’t trade up for a QB?

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell highlighted how he believes it will be a “big-time offensive draft at the top,” suggesting that Minnesota could target a “marquee” defensive player at the cream of the crop if that is the case during an interview with The Insiders of NFL Network at the annual league meeting in Orlando, Florida. 

Perhaps the biggest weakness of the Vikings defensive unit last season was their defensive line, so that feels like a reasonable area of need for Minnesota to address with the No. 11 pick should they not be able to move up for a quarterback, making defensive tackles Byron Murphy II (Texas) and Jer’Zhan Newton (Illinois) realistic options. Both players project to be first-round selections who thrive as pass rushers or run stoppers.

Moreover, the secondary is an area of need for the Vikings. Aside from Byron Murphy Jr., the team lacks talent at the cornerback position, making Quinyon Mitchell of Toledo an appealing prospect to consider. He has seen his value skyrocket throughout the scouting process as a player at one of the premier positions in football who excels in man coverage and possesses a unique blend of size, speed, and strength.

Many view the Vikings trading for an additional first-round pick as a precursor to the team making a splashier move to secure a top quarterback prospect. But O’Connell feels Minnesota now has more “flexibility” because of the transaction, pointing out that the team can take multiple directions in their draft process. 

Maybe Minnesota is more open-minded to waiting on their Cousins successor than reports have led to believe, with hopes they can do so later in the draft, even with the No. 23 pick they received from the Texans. Could Bo Nix (Oregon) or Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) be options for the Vikings if they miss out on all the top four quarterback prospects?

Whatever happens, it’d be very shocking to see the Vikings enter the 2024 season with Sam Darnold, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall as their only signal-caller options.