Vikings Draft Grades: What Do Analysts Think of J.J. McCarthy, Dallas Turner Picks?

The Vikings made quite the splash in the first round of this year's draft.
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner poses after being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner poses after being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Vikings had themselves quite the night during the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. First, they traded up one spot to land their franchise quarterback, taking Michigan's J.J. McCarthy with the tenth overall pick. About an hour later, they traded up again, giving up a handful of picks to go from 23 to 17 and take Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner.

The end result is a two-player haul that wasn't cheap to acquire, but comes oozing with star potential. Both McCarthy and Turner were projected top-ten picks who the Vikings view as cornerstone pieces they can build around moving forward. They got their replacements for Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, adding two prospects who just turned 21 this year and have big-time upside.

Let's take a look at the grades given to these picks by various national analysts.

J.J. McCarthy

Matt Verderame, SI.com: B-

During his time in Ann Arbor, McCarthy never threw for 3,000 yards in either one of his starting campaigns. The question is how much he can develop at the pro level.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: C+

They had to fill the quarterback spot, so it makes sense to take McCarthy. I don't love him as much as others do, but it will be interesting to see how Kevin O'Connell and company will make it work.

Nick Baumgardner, The Athletic: A

He may need to learn behind Sam Darnold for a minute, but I love his long-term fit with coach Kevin O’Connell and think he could be more ready than some believe.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: A

Kudos, Minnesota Vikings. They didn't bite on all the rumor-mongering about McCarthy going much higher in the draft. Instead of moving their extra first-round pick to trade up into the top five, the Vikings flipped fourth- and fifth-round picks to move up one spot, while getting a sixth-rounder back.

Charles McDonald, Yahoo! Sports: B+

Getting the quarterback without having to move up too far in the draft is a solid result for the Vikings. It may not be the quarterback they originally wanted, but it's still a solid prospect to build around and he's walking into a great situation.

Joseph Acosta, SB Nation: A-

The Vikings didn’t have to move heaven and Earth to trade up, and eventually got the guy that would fit their offense. I think McCarthy is a ways away from being a starter, but he doesn’t have to start right away with Sam Darnold playing. McCarthy is a confident passer off play action and a good enough athlete to make the O’Connell offense work in the long term. Good fit for Minnesota and McCarthy.

Dallas Turner

Matt Verderame, SI.com: C+

Turner was a universal top-10 pick in every mock leading up to the draft, and for good reason. He’s a terrific edge defender who can cause havoc in the pass game while holding his own against the run. The only reason for the lowered grade? The trade. Minnesota gave up three picks, including a pair of 2025 choices to move up six spots. That’s legitimate ammunition.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: A

Love this move to go get Turner. He will be the best edge player in this class. The Vikings have had a lot of success with edge players and he fits with what Brian Flores wants to do. 

Scott Dochterman, The Athletic: A

After losing Danielle Hunter in free agency, the Vikings needed some pass-rush punch. Minnesota jumped up six spots and grabbed arguably the draft’s most athletic pass rusher in Turner, who was considered a possible top-10 pick. It was a need probably equal to cornerback. However, the value was too good to pass up.

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: B

The Vikings needed to move a fifth-round pick and a pair of 2025 middle-round picks to trade up, but they're gaining an explosive edge to pair with the offseason additions of Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel. That should help them replace the production of Danielle Hunter and DJ Wonnum, both of whom left this offseason. Turner's upside justifies the risk of giving up a few later-round picks.

Charles McDonald, Yahoo! Sports: B+

Turner’s draft slide ended with the Vikings trading up to get him in an effort to replace Danielle Hunter. Turner isn’t a finished product, but he’s a rugged defender who managed to run a 4.46 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. He has the potential to be a dynamite edge defender in the NFL.

Joseph Acosta, SB Nation: A+

What a haul for the Vikings, who got their QB of the future and now another pass rusher for Brian Flores to work with. Turner is athletic, bendy and still growing in his pass rush repertoire. Pairing him with Jon Greenard is a huge plus for Minnesota, who have revamped their pass rush despite losing Danielle Hunter.


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Will Ragatz

WILL RAGATZ

Will Ragatz is the publisher of Inside the Vikings, an SI.com channel in the Fan Nation network. He's in his fourth season as a credentialed Minnesota Vikings beat writer, covering the team at practices, games, and all offseason long.  Will posts daily Vikings articles year-round. Not only is he on top of all the latest news, he provides the analysis and context to put the news into perspective. He knows the team inside and out, which allows him to bring depth and quality to his coverage. From free agency to the draft to training camp and the NFL season, Will covers every relevant story surrounding the Vikings. Prior to taking this role in 2019, Will attended Northwestern University and studied at the renowned Medill School of Journalism. As a student, he covered Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball, among other sports, for SB Nation's Inside NU. Will was a co-editor-in-chief of the site during his junior year. In the fall of 2018, Will interned at Sports Illustrated's newsroom in New York City, writing articles primarily on Major League Baseball, college football, and college basketball for SI.com. A native of Minneapolis who still resides in the city, Will grew up a diehard Minnesota sports fan. He played baseball at Southwest High School and wrote for the student newspaper.