How the Vikings Stole the Show by Landing J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner

The Vikings emerged from the 2024 NFL Draft with a new QB and a promising edge rusher -- all without trading into the top 5.

While it felt like the Minnesota Vikings had been primed to trade into the top-five picks of the 2024 NFL Draft for weeks, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell instead held firm in Round 1.

The Vikings ultimately moved up just one spot on draft night, switching places with the New York Jets at No. 10 before selecting Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy. Seven picks later, Minnesota struck again, orchestrating a trade up for Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner at No. 17.

Why the Vikings Are Winners From Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft

Instead of sacrificing the Godfather-type offer believed to have been required to move into the top-five picks, the Vikings gave up picks Nos. 11, 129, and 157 for 10 and 203. That’s a far cry from the three-first-round pick package that Minnesota might’ve had to trade to move up to No. 3.

The Vikings still managed to walk away with McCarthy after the Atlanta Falcons took fellow QB Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8. McCarthy ranked 26th on PFN’s Big Board, while Penix came in 33rd.

The difference was even more stark on the Industry Consensus Board, where McCarthy (No. 20) ranked 16 spots ahead of Penix.

McCarthy will replace Kirk Cousins, while Turner will help take over for departed Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

Minnesota moved up to No. 17 to land Turner, who was widely projected to come off the board inside the top 10.

The Vikings traded No. 23 in this year’s draft, plus third and fourth-round picks in 2025, to acquire the 17th selection from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

How the Vikings Stole the Show by Landing J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner

The Vikings lost this trade based on more modern NFL Draft value charts, which Adofo-Mensah helped build during his time with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

But they were willing to pay that price to get in front of other EDGE-needy teams in the draft order. The Los Angeles Rams took defensive end Jared Verse at No. 19, while the Miami Dolphins grabbed pass rusher Chop Robinson at No. 21.

Minnesota is using a discounted version of the Houston Texans’ draft approach from 2023 when they landed QB C.J. Stroud and EDGE Will Anderson Jr. within the top three picks.

The Vikings didn’t go to that extreme, but they still emerged from Round 1 having filled needs at two premium positions.

While the NFC North projects as one of the league’s stronger divisions in 2024, Minnesota could compete next season.

McCarthy is being dropped into one of the NFL’s best situations for a rookie quarterback. He’ll get to work with an embarrassment of offensive riches, including WRs Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, TE T.J. Hockenson, and RB Aaron Jones.

Meanwhile, Turner joins a Vikings EDGE rotation that added free agents Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel this offseason. Turner projects as a long-term starter opposite Greenard, and his blend of pass-rushing skills and flat coverage ability make him a perfect fit for DC Brian Flores’ scheme.

Of course, the Vikings will have to eventually pay the price for trading away so many future draft picks. Minnesota won’t pick again in 2024 until the fourth round.

It’s even worse in 2025. The Vikings now have just three picks in next year’s draft: a first-rounder and two fifth-round choices.

Still, Minnesota is now largely set at the NFL’s premium positions.

McCarthy is in place on a rookie quarterback contract, the most valuable deal in professional sports. Jefferson will soon be expensive, but is arguably the league’s top receiver, while Addison posted 911 yards in his rookie campaign.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Draft Grades 

Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill represent one of the NFL’s better tackle duos. Greenard and Turner are long-term starters on the edge. The only piece the Vikings are missing is an impact interior pass rusher.

Minnesota has more than $100 million in projected cap space in 2025, the fourth-most in the league.

While Jefferson and Darrisaw extensions will eat into that room, the Vikings should be able to add even more talent from the open market next spring.

Looking for everything you need surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft? Make sure to check out the latest draft results, overall team grades, and updated best remaining players available at every position!

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