May 27, 2024
Annapolis, US 78 F

Vikings Rookies Earn Top Marks in NFL Rankings

Whether it comes down to luck or management IQ, the Minnesota Vikings have been enjoying a remarkable degree of success when it comes to drafting talent of late. With some key assets added to the roster and a handful of diamonds in the rough, the Viking’s future is looking bright.

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The Minnesota Vikings selected QB Jaren Hall in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, which caused something of a stir at the time. However, Hall probably won’t play a huge part in the team’s future. The former BYU signal caller started twice for the Minnesota Vikings football team in the 2023 season after Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles. But the Vikings have since signed Sam Darnold this offseason and notably took J.J. McCarthy tenth overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. The inevitable conclusion: Hall’s days with the team are numbered.

Fortunately, other players from the Vikings’ 2023 draft class fared much better than Hall last season. Wide receiver Jordan Addison was the 23rd overall pick in last year’s draft, and he proved to be well worth it by torching many teams on the Viking’s schedule in 2023. He recorded 70 receptions, 911 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns during his rookie season.

Mekhi Blackmon, the Vikings’ third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, showed out during his first season with Minnesota, too. He made Minnesota Vikings news in the world of sports on several occasions by recording eight pass breakups and failing to miss any tackles throughout the season. Defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy, a fourth-round pick in 2023, wasn’t in the Vikings news as often as Blackmon, but he also seemed to solidify a spot on Minnesota’s defensive line. Another 2023 fourth-round pick safety Jay Ward gave Vikings fans brief glimpses of what he could become on the defensive side of the ball as well.

The most impressive 2023 Vikings rookies of the bunch, though, might be a trio of undrafted players. Cornerback NaJee Thompson and linebacker Andre Carter II both served as key cogs on special teams in 2023. It also looks like the Vikings may have hit paydirt with undrafted linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., who started 11 games in 2023 and fit in nicely within defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ scheme.

So, can the Vikings repeat the success they enjoyed with their 2023 rookie class by getting production from their 2024 draft picks next season? It’ll all start with first-round pick J.J. McCarthy. He might not see the field much since he’s expected to be listed behind Darnold on the depth chart, but Vikings fans look forward to seeing what he can do during the preseason. He could also see playing time during the regular season if the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears pull away from the Minnesota Vikings standings position.

Vikings fans also hope to see other 2024 rookies shine. McCarthy’s fellow first-round pick Dallas Turner, a linebacker out of Alabama, should be a slam-dunk pick for Minnesota. Fourth-round pick Khyree Jackson, a cornerback out of Oregon, should also make a push to be productive right away. Even sixth-round pick Will Reichard, a kicker out of Alabama, could help cure the Vikings of their recent kicking woes. And who knows? The next Pace Jr. may be on the Vikings’ roster right now without anyone even realizing it.

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