Minnesota Takes Their Shot at a QB and Beefs Up the Trenches


Nov 18, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) leaves following the victory against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 college football season is in the books, meaning we are quickly approaching NFL Draft season.

For the first time in the 2024 Draft cycle, we’ll be going through a Vikings mock draft, picking prospects for each of their eight selections in this spring’s draft from Rounds 1-6. Trades will come in later mock drafts, but for now, we’re keeping it simple and just sticking with the original picks. Please note that the draft order is based off NFLMockDraftDataBase.com.

R1, P21: Washington QB Michael Penix

Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the second half of the Pac-12 Championship game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now is the time for the Vikings to go after their QB of the future. Assuming the Vikings land with a pick in the early 20s, they could either trade up for one of the best prospects in the class or stand pat and still land a first-round caliber QB.

Michael Penix has all sorts of arm talent, but his injury history could cause some NFL teams to be wary of him. He was a former track athlete in high school and has all sorts of speed that allows him to create plays with his legs while his ridiculous arm strength makes him one of the more intriguing QB prospects in this draft.

It’s a big risk for the Vikings to take a chance on a player who missed time in every season from 2018-2022, but Penix has the traits of an NFL player if he can stay healthy.

R2, P52: LSU DT Maason Smith

Vikings Mock Draft
Sep 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) celebrates a play during the first half against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings need to find a youthful playmaker at either EDGE or DT in this draft early on, and Maason Smith is an absolute freak who can immediately impact an NFL defense.

Smith stands at 6’6″ and weighs 315 pounds. His brute force in the middle of LSU’s defensive line wreaked havoc on opposing offenses all season, and his ability to stop the run should make him a top-75 pick in next spring’s draft.

Even better, Smith is a remarkable athlete, almost on par with that of a Jordan Davis or Jalen Carter. He should be able to run well below five seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine, and his closing burst allows him to wrap up plays regularly.

R4, P121: Clemson RB Will Shipley

Nov 18, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Will Shipley (1) runs the ball against North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Will Hardy (31) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings need more production out of the running back position, but they are going to have to marry the talents of whatever prospect they select alongside those of Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler.

Will Shipley isn’t necessarily the guy to bowl over defenders between the tackles, but he can create yards in a hurry both on screen passes as well as outside zone runs. The Clemson product has excellent speed and has natural receiver hands giving him the versatility to be on the field in many different situations.

R4, P127: Colorado State EDGE Mohamed Kamara

Colorado State’s Mohamed Kamara (8) reacts during a college football game against CU at Folsom Field on Saturday, Sep. 16, 2023, in Boulder, Colo.

With all three of Marcus Davenport, Danielle Hunter, and D.J. Wonnum entering free agency this offseason, the Vikings could use more depth at EDGE next season.

Mohamed Kamara doesn’t have the look of an elite pass-rusher, standing at just 6’1″, but he has long arms to make up for some of that size disadvantage and displays terrific speed and strength at the position. If Brian Flores remains the Vikings defensive coordinator next year, this is the type of raw prospect that he can find a role for.

R5, P158: Auburn CB Jaylin Simpson

Auburn Tigers defensive back Jaylin Simpson (36) celebrates before being called for defensive pass interference call during the first quarter as Auburn Tigers take on New Mexico State Aggies at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

The Vikings have gone with some smaller CBs with great athleticism in recent years (Mekhi Blackmon, for example), and Jaylin Simpson falls into a similar category. He may only be 6’1″ and 180 pounds soaking wet, but the Auburn product has 4.4 speed and lays some absolutely brutal hits in the secondary. His ball skills were on full display during 2023 as well, recording 4 interceptions.

R5, P160: Iowa IOL Connor Colby

Iowa offensive lineman Connor Colby (77) blocks against defensive lineman John Waggoner (92) during the Kids Day at Kinnick NCAA football practice, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

220813 Ia Kids Day Fb 082 Jpg

For once, the Vikings offensive line is not necessarily a huge need heading into 2024. Four of the five starters from their 2023 line will remain under contract for multiple years, and there is a solid chance that Dalton Risner will return at the left guard spot.

However, extra depth at the guard spots is never a bad thing, and Connor Colby offers positive traits in both his size and athleticism at the position. He was a masterful run-blocker at Iowa and can offer some extra security for the Vikings.

R6, P178: Texas A&M WR Moose Muhammad

Sep 2, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Moose Muhammad III (7) runs the ball during the fourth quarter New Mexico Lobos at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota has some solid depth at the WR spot, but they could still use a speedy downfield threat in their offense. Perhaps Jalen Nailor can still become that guy, but we haven’t seen much of him with the offense in 2023.

Moose Muhammad has been playing that exact role in the Texas A&M offense, especially in 2022 when he averaged 16.1 yards per reception. He has a knack for hauling in the deep passes and has the wiggle to evade tacklers downfield.

R6, P187: Florida State LB Tatum Bethune

Oct 21, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles linebacker Tatum Bethune (15) and defensive lineman Patrick Payton (11) celebrate a stop during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Tatum Bethune can be the yin to Ivan Pace’s yang in the Vikings defense. Pace thrives as a blitzer, but he doesn’t offer much in terms of pass coverage yet. Bethune is a fantastic coverage linebacker, seemingly always finding ways to stick to his receivers in both man and zone coverage schemes.

As Roster Reinforcements Arrive, Vikings Spring a Leak Along the Offensive Line

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.





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