QBs Most Likely Available to Vikings in Top 5 Will Be J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye

The Minnesota Vikings are now primed to trade up for a quarterback in the NFL draft, but the question remains of how high they’ll have to venture to get their player of choice.

 

A trade for the No. 1 overall selection is off the board after the Chicago Bears traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, March 16. Recent trades and free agency signings by both the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots — who own pick Nos. 2 and 3, respectively — render it likely both teams will stay put and draft QBs of their own.

 

With potential competition from the New York Giants (No. 6 overall), Denver Broncos (No. 12 overall) and Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13 overall) for the best signal-callers left on the board after the top three, Minnesota may have to trade up all the way to No. 4 in order to secure they get their man.

 

 

“With two first-round picks, the Vikings now own the draft capital to fly up the board for a quarterback,” Matt Miller of ESPN wrote on Saturday, March 16. “The latest league-wide rumor has the Vikings trading to No. 4 overall, where the [Arizona] Cardinals are in a sweet spot to trade out with a quarterback-needy team.”

 

QBs Most Likely Available to Vikings in Top 5 Will Be J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye

 

Former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

 

Who the Vikings will take with the fourth pick, should they ultimately land there, remains to be seen.

 

The Bears are almost certain to draft Caleb Williams out of USC. The next three highest-ranked quarterbacks on most mock draft boards are Jayden Daniels of LSU, Drake Maye of UNC and J.J. McCarthy of Michigan.

 

“There is considerable buzz about Minnesota trying to move into the top five to secure a quarterback such as McCarthy or potentially Maye/Daniels if either falls past New England,” Miller wrote Saturday.

 

Daniels, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is the most likely of the three right now to come off the board behind Williams — leaving Maye or McCarthy on the board after the Patriots pick at No. 3.

 

Vikings May Need to Trade Up With Chargers at No. 5 Rather Than Cardinals at No. 4

 

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

 

The Cardinals can land a massive haul for surrendering the fourth pick, particularly to the Vikings.

 

Minnesota on Friday traded with the Houston Texans to acquire the No. 23 overall selection in the upcoming draft and now owns that pick along with No. 11 overall. The Vikings sent the Texans two second-rounders, including the No. 42 pick this year, along with the 188th overall selection. Minnesota also brought back a 2024 seventh-rounder from Houston in the deal.

 

The Vikings’ intentions appear to be to flip both 2024 first-rounders, and potentially a future first if necessary, to move into the top five. But if the top three teams select QBs, the Cardinals will have a clear line to draft wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who projects as a potentially generational talent at a position of need in Arizona.

 

Should the Cardinals decide to go that way, it will be the Los Angeles Chargers with the fifth pick poised to pick up massive value from the Vikings or another QB-needy team. That is the scenario that ESPN’s Field Yates projected on Friday after news broke of Minnesota’s deal with Houston.

 

“With quarterbacks coming off the board quickly, I have the Vikings sending pick Nos. 11 and 23, along with a 2025 first-rounder, to the Chargers for this No. 5 selection,” Yates wrote. “Minnesota lost Kirk Cousins to the Falcons in free agency and signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal this week.”

 

 

 

Gideon Canice

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