Mel Kiper Jr. has been a staple in the NFL draft community for decades. When he puts out a new mock draft, it’s a big deal. He has officially dropped his first mock draft for the 2024 NFL draft, and he has the Minnesota Vikings going with help on the defensive side, skipping out on addressing their issues at quarterback.
In his write-up on the selection, Kiper acknowledges that quarterback could be the direction at 11, but he thinks the team would be better served running it back with Cousins for another season. Here’s what Kiper had to say about the Vikings instead taking Clemson CB Nate Wiggins:
In my final mock ahead of the 2023 draft, I projected the Vikings taking a cornerback. Instead, they went with wide receiver Jordan Addison, who had a fantastic rookie season, catching 10 touchdown passes. That need in the secondary still exists. Minnesota ranked 28th in passing yards allowed to receivers last season (3,019), and 2022 second-rounder Andrew Booth Jr. hasn’t quite figured things out. Let’s go back to Clemson — Booth’s former school — with the selection of Wiggins here. Wiggins was a lockdown defender in 2023, allowing just 4.2 yards per attempt as the nearest defender in coverage.
Could the Vikings take a quarterback? For sure. Kirk Cousins is a free agent, and I don’t think rookie fifth-rounder Jaren Hall will be the guy long-term. At this point, though, the most likely option might be running it back with Cousins, so adding a starter on defense makes more sense. This obviously could change as we learn more about general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s plans.
Cornerback has been a popular pick among NFL draft analysts for the Vikings, and it makes sense. The Brian Flores defense is blitz-heavy and depends on high-quality coverage guys on the back-end. That’s an area that the Vikings could benefit greatly from improving.
Still, the issues at quarterback are going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later, regardless of whether or not Cousins comes back for another year.