By all intents and purposes, unless your name rhymes with Bob Sansevere, the Minnesota Vikings had a home-run 2021 Draft. By trading down in the first round and still landing what many presumed was their guy, the Vikings landed the third round capital to land their outside linebacker, left guard, and quarterback of the future (with a pick they already had plus two added picks courtesy of the trade down from 14 to 23).
The only caveat there is that according to ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin, the Vikings’ real top player was former Ohio State and new Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields.
The Vikings never thought he’d fall to them at 14, but as he got closer and closer, they thought they may actually land their top QB in the Draft.
Then Chicago swooped in and stunned the Vikings front office.
I’ll let Cronin explain:
“As Minnesota watched Carolina and Denver pass on Fields at Nos. 8 and 9, (a) distant dream suddenly felt like it could become a reality. With Vikings ownership in the main draft room, front office personnel worked the phones and tried to see where they might have to move up to land Fields … (After the Bears traded up to select Fields), the Vikings were stunned, and this one really stung. They wanted one of the top quarterbacks, but they weren’t desperate enough to give up that kind of draft capital for a player who would be sitting behind Cousins for at least a year … But Fields was the guy for Minnesota, and the team was prepared to take him if he had been there at No. 14 and begin a process of shifting course.”
And by ‘Hmm’ I mean crap.
If Fields develops into a headache for the Vikings for the next decade-plus? They may look back at their refusal to lose the (future) second/third round picks to move up as a massive blunder.
Not only would they not have landed their QB of the future (depending on what happens with Kellen Mond), but they’ll have to face Fields twice a year and also compete for the division title against him.
The pick of Christian Darrisaw, plus the additional third round picks, could help the Vikings shore up their line for Cousins and eventually Mond, but it sounds like the team would’ve rather landed the massive talent that is Fields and then attempted to shore up the line.
That may have been impossible, and thus this move may have been the prudent one (especially considering how the Cousins lead offense is built to win now, with that added pass protection), but a few years from now if Fields develops into the threat even the Vikings clearly think he will be, all we will remember is that he is the one that got away.