Rival HC Name-Drops Vikings as Competition for QB Amid Trade Rumors

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell admitted at the NFC coaches breakfast in Orlando in March that his team could face competition from the Denver Broncos in their search for a quarterback in the 2024 draft.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton returned the favor with the draft a week away, acknowledging that the two teams could be jockeying for the same thing come April 25.

And they won’t be the only ones.

“Part of the puzzle if we were looking at our draft board and you looked at the screen and you said team needs, there’s a handful of teams ahead of us where you’d say, ‘Quarterback,’” Payton told reporters on April 18. “And then there’s a team or two – Minnesota, ourselves, the Raiders – you could argue ‘quarterback.’ And that’s what makes it, this year, a little interesting.”

The Vikings hold the upper hand. They have the No. 11 overall draft pick compared to the Broncos at No. 12. The Vikings hold an additional second-round pick (No. 23) to use in a potential blockbuster trade to move up.

They are also more set up to take a quarterback. Minnesota has fewer roster needs and a more proven placeholder in Sam Darnold under contract.

But the two teams appear to be each others’ greatest competition at this stage.

Broncos Could Pose Greatest Threat to Vikings in 2024 Draft

Sean Payton, Minnesota Vikings

GettyHead coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

“Multiple teams believe Minnesota or Denver could be trade-up options for [J.J.] McCarthy, who’s considered a good fit in both places,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote on April 17. “He’d be best served to sit a year behind a veteran, per multiple scouts.”

McCarthy included, the Vikings have done their due diligence on the 2024 quarterback prospects this offseason.

But O’Connell knows it’s not as simple as creating the environment. They need help.

“Part of the draft is understanding … other teams sometimes have to be complicit in your plans. And you’re talking about the Denver Broncos with Sean Payton as the head coach, George Paton,” O’Connell told reporters on March 26. “I know the type of staff they have there. There’s some great evaluators of talent.

“We know if we feel strongly about the type of players that we’re looking at and we’re evaluating, they probably are feeling similar. And so we got to understand that that is part of it. We’re going to have to compete in ways to add players, at all positions, to our team.”

That reality could be a driving force behind the latest reports of the Vikings’ attempts to secure their position ahead of the draft.

ESPN’s Kimberley Martin said she “would not” be “shocked” to see the Vikings swing a trade up.

Vikings Looking to Trade for ‘Top-5 Pick’ Before Draft

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

GettyGeneral Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

“They’ve been actively trying to do that. They’ve been on the phone, trying to actively move up,” Martin said on “Get Up” on April 18. “Here’s the thing: It’s not a done deal. I think in a perfect world, the Vikings would start [April 25] with that top-five pick already in hand. They would have that spot. But it’s not guaranteed yet. And their GM has to decide if they’re going to give up the kind of compensation that they’d need to get into the top five.”

New England Patriots de facto general manager Eliot Wolf openly stated he is willing to trade down from No. 3 overall. So the price of doing business figures to be high.

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort did the same with the No. 4 pick earlier this offseason.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets could all trade back. Conversely, the New York Giants loom as a wild card. With Daniel Jones still a question mark, they could go either way on a quarterback at No. 6 overall.

This is all the more reason for the Vikings to be as aggressive as they can to secure their guy at quarterback if he is indeed in this class.