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Vikings draft rumors for 2024: Trade winds swirl around first-round pick, Justin Jefferson contract extension

In sports, there’s no worse place to be than limbo – something the Minnesota Vikings know all too well.

Those at the top compete for championships. They sell their fans – and team – on the idea that they can be the best. Teams at the bottom can tell themselves that they are just a few good decisions away from the top. Those in the middle can’t either.

Good enough to be relevant, bad enough to be nothing.

2024 NFL DRAFT TOP 10 LISTS: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | EDGE

The Vikings are the classic ‘C’ students who consistently do just enough to succeed. They have a talented roster with some big holes that need to be filled. In an NFC North currently owned by the Lions and Packers, the Vikings now also have to deal with the Bears, who should be vastly improved by 2024.

They can no longer just get by amid strong divisions. How the Vikings approach the 2024 NFL Draft will give us a glimpse into how the franchise sees itself right now and beyond. Rumors are flying, a trade wind is blowing.

The question is whether this ship is ready to sail or will remain moored for the foreseeable future. Here’s the latest on Minnesota ahead of Thursday night’s first round.

MORE: Big board top 200 | 7-round mock draft | Mock transactions

Vikings create rumors

It’s no secret that things need to change for Minnesota after a 7-10 season. Kirk Cousins ​​accelerated that process after going to the Falcons in free agency, leaving Minnesota without a quarterback.

The Vikings wanted to fill that hole by signing journeyman Sam Darnold. The Jets’ 2018 No. 3 overall pick emerged as a starter there and with the Panthers before backing up Brock Purdy in San Francisco in 2023.

Kevin O’Connell’s team can’t rely on the former USC star to be the unquestioned QB1 if they want to compete, meaning the draft is the next best thing. The good news for the Vikings is that they have a chance to get one.

MORE: Tracking the latest leaks, news and trade buzz ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft

Will the Vikings trade up for a QB?

Minnesota is considered one of the more interesting teams to watch in Round 1. It is well documented that they are in the hunt for a quarterback, with JJ McCarthy being the name most associated with them.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants and Vikings are the two teams with the most interest in moving up. He also reported Monday that if Minnesota could reach the No. 3 seed, teams believe they would choose Drake Maye over McCarthy. Considering Maye’s connection to Vikings’ QB coach Josh McCown, the dots aren’t hard to connect here.

Armed with two first-round picks – No. 11 and No. 23 – Minnesota is missing additional top-100 selections. Any trade would likely include both firsts, which would complicate matters when it comes to patching other holes in the roster.

MORE: Recent history says Vikings should pass on trade for top-three pick

Regardless, ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin reported on April 18 that the team would like to have a top-five pick heading into draft night.

“They’ve been actively trying to get up on the phone,” Martin said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “In a perfect world, the Vikings would enter Thursday with that top-five pick already in hand, but it’s not guaranteed yet, and their GM has to decide whether they’re going to give up the kind of compensation they need to get to the top five. ”

That won’t be an easy task, as the Patriots are considered unlikely to move out of the third spot and the Cardinals will wait until draft night to make a deal.

“(Monti) Ossenfort has told teams around the league that have inquired about the trade that he wants to wait until he is in a position to make a choice before agreeing to a trade,” Schefter reported Monday.

Despite all the noise, McCarthy appears destined to end up in Minnesota as the Vikings prepare for life without Cousins.

MORE: Why JJ McCarthy Draws Jim Harbaugh Comparisons from Mel Kiper Jr.

Justin Jefferson contract extension soon?

Amid all the quarterback concerns, Justin Jefferson is still due for a contract extension. The belief is that this will happen eventually, but it could be an awkward situation given the lack of direction the franchise is currently facing.

Despite these issues, an Instagram post from Jefferson on Sunday seemed to indicate that positive news would be coming soon.

“The money speaks for itself, I call it divination,” Jefferson wrote.

Trade rumors continue to swirl thanks to the lack of an extension, but Jefferson is still involved in the local sports scene – possibly suggesting those trade talks are overblown.

MORE: Which teams are contenders for Justin Jefferson if he is traded?

The star receiver also attended the Timberwolves Game 1 game against the Suns on Saturday.

When and if the deal is completed, Jefferson is expected to sign a contract that will pay him more than $30 million per year.

If Minnesota can pull off a trade in the draft and send Jefferson to a new deal, that would be two big wins to round out the offseason.