June 24, 2024

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The Minnesota Vikings are facing a significant task in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, particularly after losing starting quarterback Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. While the team made a strategic decision not to meet Cousins’ contract demands, they now find themselves in need of a new starting quarterback both for the immediate and long-term future.

Audric Estime could be a sleeper pick for the Vikings

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell were aligned in their decision not to pursue an expensive contract for Cousins, who ultimately signed with the Falcons for a substantial sum. In response, the Vikings have acquired veteran Sam Darnold, but his arrival is viewed as a temporary solution rather than a permanent one, given his inconsistent performance and injury history.

Consequently, the Vikings are expected to target their next franchise quarterback in the upcoming draft, given the depth of talent available at the position. With the 11th and 23rd picks in the first round, they have the opportunity to select from a pool of highly rated prospects, such as Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and J.J. McCarthy. However, they may need to consider trading up to secure one of the top prospects, potentially offering both of their first-round picks or additional future picks to move higher in the draft.

While quarterback remains the Vikings’ primary focus, they also have other areas of need to address in the draft. With multiple picks in the mid-to-late rounds, they must identify sleeper prospects who can contribute to their roster depth. Here are three potential options:

1. Audric Estime from Notre Dame: With concerns about running back depth following injuries and inconsistent performance, Estime could provide valuable support behind Aaron Jones. Estime showcased his abilities with impressive rushing stats last season, demonstrating toughness and durability that align with the Vikings’ needs.

2. Matt Goncalves from Pittsburgh: Strengthening the offensive line is a priority for many NFL teams, including the Vikings. Goncalves offers potential depth and versatility on the offensive line, addressing a perennial need for reinforcement in the trenches.

3. [Third Sleeper Prospect]: [Description of the third sleeper prospect and how they could address a specific need or provide depth for the Vikings.]

In summary, while finding a new quarterback remains the Vikings’ primary objective, they must also capitalize on their draft picks to bolster depth and address other key areas of need across the roster.

OT Matt Goncalves presents an enticing option for the Minnesota Vikings with a mid-round selection. Standing tall at 6 feet 6 inches and weighing 327 pounds, Goncalves served as a captain for the Pittsburgh Panthers, showcasing leadership qualities that could translate well to the NFL.

Goncalves is praised for his impressive hand punch and proficiency in pass protection, attributes that are crucial for an offensive tackle. Additionally, he exhibits a relentless work ethic, consistently delivering impactful blocks in the running game and demonstrating the ability to reach the second level effectively.

Matt Goncalves - Football - Pitt Panthers #H2P

Meanwhile, DT Mekhi Wingo from LSU offers another intriguing prospect for the Vikings. Despite being slightly undersized at 6 feet tall and 284 pounds, Wingo compensates with exceptional quickness and a tenacious playing style.

His ability to disengage from blockers and disrupt plays in the backfield makes him a valuable asset on the defensive line. Wingo has the potential to contribute immediately as a rotational player at the 3-technique position and could evolve into a versatile three-down defender with further development.

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