Vikings Flip Script on Trade Buzz, Indicate Desire to Keep 1st-Rounder: Report

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O'Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

For weeks the majority of talk surrounding the Minnesota Vikings‘ draft plans revolved around the team trading multiple first-round picks to move into the top five and select a franchise QB.

However, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler over the weekend, that may not actually be the case.

“You got Minnesota armed with two first-round picks. This is the team that could be active,” Fowler said on a Saturday, April 13 edition of SportsCenter. “I’ve talked to several teams, though, who believe that Minnesota — at least right now — doesn’t wanna part with that second first-rounder, which is in the 20s. They wanna try to preserve that, which could be tough to move up into the top five for a quarterback. So the feeling is they’re looking around at potentially [J.J.] McCarthy there, one of the quarterbacks, but they might not wanna give up enough to get there.”

J.J. McCarthy’s True Draft Value Around NFL May Be Inflated

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings

GettyQuarterback J.J. McCarthy of the Michigan Wolverines.

If the Vikings aren’t posturing and seriously believe they can hold onto the No. 23 pick and utilize only their No. 11 selection to snag a potential franchise quarterback later this month, then one of a couple of things must be true.

Either Minnesota feels as though trading No. 11 this year and their 2025 first-rounder will be enough to get them into the top five for a quarterback, or the franchise believes that all the hype surrounding McCarthy as a possible pick in the Nos. 3-5 range is conjecture and/or subterfuge on the part of their opponents around the league.

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report identified McCarthy on Sunday as one of five prospects who could fall in the first round of this year’s draft, as the talk around him may be some of the classic overhyping fans and analysts have come to expect as the draft approaches each spring.

Over the past month, SNY’s Connor Hughes and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero have linked McCarthy to the New York Giants and Washington Commanders, respectively. At this point, he seems like a surefire top-10 pick who’s a trendy option for quarterback-needy teams.

However, those could be pre-draft smokescreens from teams that want to sway attention away from their actual targets. That’s a well-known misdirection tactic at this juncture of the offseason. McCarthy may not fall out of the first round like Will Levis did last year, but the pre-draft commentary about his stock may be artificial hype rather than legitimate interest coming from NFL teams.

Vikings Will Play Dangerous Game if They Get Stingy in Trade Talks Around Moving Up for Top-5 Pick

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

Most mocks from insiders relatively in the know, specifically Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates of ESPN, predict the Vikings will move up to No. 5 in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers and select McCarthy. To do so, both analysts project Minnesota must surrender both of its 2024 first-rounders and a first-round pick next year.

That said, both men are also banking on the New England Patriots staying home at No. 3 and drafting quarterback Drake Maye out of UNC, as well as the Arizona Cardinals standing pat and selecting Marvin Harrison Jr. — perhaps the best overall prospect in the 2024 class across all positions — with the 4th overall pick.

Fowler noted in his SportsCenter hit Saturday that several teams expect the Cardinals to be players in trade talks at No. 4. As such, the Giants could pose a serious threat to the Vikings for the fourth QB off the board later this month — likely McCarthy, though possibly Maye or another QB prospect like Jayden Daniels.

New York owns the No. 6 overall pick, meaning the Cardinals may still be able to make a play for Harrison there and pick up draft capital by doing a deal with the Giants. Otherwise, both Malik Nabers of LSU and Rome Odunze of Washington should remain available in the 6th spot. The drop off between Harrison and either of those receivers may be worth it to Arizona if the trade comes along with significant draft capital down the line.

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