In a tweet that did not receive much attention, Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm dropped a nugget of news on Sunday about the Minnesota Vikings recent draft preparation.
2021* draft ha
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) April 11, 2021
The Vikings are slated to choose at the 14th spot in the 2021 NFL Draft, a position derived from the team’s underwhelming 7-9 season of 2020. Minnesota was supposed to win about 10 games last year — the same number that was forecasted by Vegas for the Green Bay Packers — but injuries havocked the depth chart, particularly on defense. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s offense did a sound job of keeping the enterprise afloat, though. In the end, the defense collapsed — seemingly in every loss — and Zimmer’s defense registered a Zimmer career-worst 29.7 points per game allowed. Three years prior, 2017, the Vikings led the NFL in points allowed (in a good way), surrendering just 15.7 points per contest. 2020 was nearly double that of 2017 in this parameter.
Nevertheless, that sets up a crossroads season for the Vikings — especially Zimmer and quarterback Kirk Cousins. The 2021 season will be Cousins’ fourth year with the squad, so by the end of this season, folks will probably know if he is the “right guy” to lead the team onward.
If he is not, well, general manager Rick Spielman could prepare now for life after Cousins. He has 10 draft picks at the end of April in the draft. Per Edholm, Spielman is doing his homework on passers. The 14th pick is a nasty hole to inhabit for a 2021 rookie quarterback, chiefly because the “biggies” will likely be off the board — Trevor Lawrence, Zack Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones. Pundits foresee five quarterbacks leaving the draft board through ten picks. Wowzers.
Spielman would either have to trade up to get his Cousins replacement, send prayers up above that one of those men slides down the pecking order, or scour the later rounds for a future quarterback.
And, evidently, the Vikings are interviewing those later-round prospects.
Named after Peyton Manning, Peyton Ramsey spent three years at the University of Indiana before joining Northwestern in 2020. Interestingly, Ramsey was born on Halloween. He gained Third Team All-Big Ten honors last year. All told, Ramsey threw 54 touchdowns to 31 interceptions in 40 career games at Indiana and Northwestern.
Ramsey also notched MVP honors in the last Bowl season’s Citrus Bowl when the Wildcats knocked off the Auburn Tigers by a score of 35-19. The 23-year-old dished out 340 total yards and three touchdowns in the game. He’s also teammates with two other Wildcats often associated with the Vikings via mock draft — Rashawn Slater, an offensive tackle, and Greg Newsome, a cornerback.
Pegged a practice-squad player by The Draft Network‘s Kyle Crabbs, TDN offers this scouting report on Ramsey:
“Ramsey is an undersized passer who makes due oftentimes because of his mobility and athleticism to scramble both within and outside the pocket. His play at Indiana features plenty of RPOs and that is an element to the offense that he can run effectively with his ball-handling at the mesh point and his mobility to offer a third threat outside of the initial threat with the back and shallow targets working to the numbers for quick throws. Ramsey’s arm talent can best be described as adequate and will be a significant limiting factor to his NFL impact. But today’s game can be won both inside and outside of structure and Ramsey offers you just enough in both to serve as a bottom of the roster quarterback for emergency situations.”
If this is true, Ramsey feels like another Nate Stanley or Jake Browning type of prospect. Conveniently, those men are the respective QB2 and QB3 on the Vikings depth chart as of April 11. Three’s a crowd.
Draftek.com considers Ramsey the 17th-best QB in the 2021 NFL Draft.