It’s taken a few weeks, but the Minnesota Vikings were finally the subject of a draft that spiced life up.
Over the last three weeks, the Vikings are routinely sent these men by mock-drafters: Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC), Rashawn Slater (Northwestern), Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech), Jaelan Phillips (Miami), and Kwity Paye (Michigan). This fivesome mostly satisfies the team roster needs as Minnesota can stand to bolster its trenches. For men like Slater and perhaps Paye, the team is marrying best player available and depth chart necessity.
But then stuff like Pete Prisco’s mock draft arises — and totally blows up conventional thought. This is the smirk-inducing part of mock draft season.
On Tuesday — nine days from the 2021 NFL Draft — CBS Sports‘ Pete Prisco did the irresistible and tossed NDSU quarterback Trey Lance onto the Vikings player ledger with the 14th pick.
“They are set with Kirk Cousins for this year, but he has a huge cap hit next season. Lance will need time to sit and learn, which is why this would make sense. Could also go tackle here.”
And in the off chance one is unfamiliar with Lance, he is the scouting report on him from The Draft Network:
“Trey Lance has aligned in the pistol, the gun, and has shown the ability to run the offense from under center. He plays the position with good athleticism, as evidenced by his ability to get out of the pocket and extend plays with his legs. Even within the pocket, his mobility and footwork seemed to have developed. Because he is a threat to move the chains with his legs, he needs to be accounted for in the zone-read game. As a passer, he seems to be able to generate velocity on his throws, which is critical for playing in the elements. He has also shown some touch and accuracy down the field on his deep throws. He needs to continue to develop the subtle nuances of the position to continue to maximize his natural talent as a passer.“
If Lance gets to the Vikings and general manager Rick Spielman snatches the 20-year-old, it will signal the most drastic team shift in 12 years. The last time the Vikings made such a bold, decisive transaction in efforts to uproot the fiber of the team — was Brett Favre’s arrival in 2009.
A selection of Lance instantly nails quarterback Kirk Cousins to borrowed time. Cousins would start in 2021 due to his hefty contractual price tag, but Lance would wait in the shadows, poised to take over the franchise in 2022 or 2023. And what an exciting prognosis it would be.
Minnesota notoriously avoids assigning its fate to a rookie quarterback. When it has in the relatively recent past, the end result is dastardly — every time. The reasoning varies, but the tragedy is consistent.
Daunte Culpepper was drafted in 1999. He led the franchise for 5.5 seasons before shredding his knee, disabling the robust passer from ever regaining peak form.
Then, the Vikings struck out on Tarvaris Jackson. Although, Jackson was not quite as coveted as the rest of the men in this parable. Christian Ponder was, though. The Flordia State alumnus was plucked from the 2011 NFL Draft. He was a bondfide bust, started 36 games for the Vikings, and never played football again after his purple and gold departure.
One last time, Spielman swung for the fences with Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. Just like Culpepper, Bridgewater’s time in Minneapolis was unceremoniously precluded by a gruesome leg injury.
Should Prisco get his wish, the transitioning out of Cousins would begin while Lance would seek to change the doldrums of Vikings rookie-quarterback history.
Lance would do so with a “hometown” flair — he born in Marshall, Minnesota.