1 Unsung QB Keeps Popping up in Vikings Mock Drafts

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Maybe the Minnesota Vikings don’t have to spend loadsamoney on a trade up the draft board on April 27th for a quarterback?

All the buzz as of the last week and a half has involved the club possibly trading up for Kentucky’s Will Levis or reaching with the No. 23 pick for Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker.

1 Unsung QB Keeps Popping up in Vikings Mock Drafts

But an alternative theory suggests the Vikings can trade nothing and organically draft UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson in Round 4 or so. The plan would certainly help the draft-pick-strapped Vikings while hopefully marrying life after Kirk Cousins with a developmental passer.

1 Unsung QB Keeps
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In the last few days, The Athletic and ESPN have linked Thompson-Robinson to Minnesota, a sensible idea as the Vikings are not committed to Cousins beyond 2023. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has opted not to extend the 34-year-old this offseason, at least not yet.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis mock-drafted Thompson-Robinson to the Vikings Thursday and explained, “Why not take a chance on a quarterback who can sit and develop? This type of pick has little downside. You are not giving up your best draft capital for an unproven player. And, if Thompson-Robinson doesn’t develop to your liking, you can always draft another QB in the coming years.”

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“Thompson-Robinson is not without his question marks, but he is athletic and has pedigree. Also, O’Connell worked under Thompson-Robinson’s college coach, Chip Kelly, in San Francisco,” Lewis concluded.

And, the day before, ESPN’s Jordan Reid also selected Thompson-Robinson for Minnesota — in the same draft spot, the 119th pick in the 4th Round. It’s the draft pick acquired by the Vikings during the T.J. Hockenson trade.

Revealing Quote about
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The 6-foot-2, 203-pounder tabulated 3,169 passing yards, 39 touchdown passes, and 10 interceptions at UCLA in 2022. He’s known for athleticism, arm strength, and leadership while lacking accuracy and perhaps displaying suspect decision-making at times.

But the Bruin wouldn’t have to start in 2023 — that’s what Cousins is for. He could theoretically mature for a year and take the scepter if ready in 2024. It’s the route taken by Cousins in 2012, although not by plan, with Robert Griffin III in Washington.

The Vikings have a rare opportunity to “have it both ways” in 2023. Adofo-Mensah can employ the ultra-productive Cousins in a contract year, with a man like Thompson-Robinson or Hendon Hooker waiting in the wings. The Kansas City Chiefs used the strategy in 2017. It worked. You might’ve seen it a few times on Sunday nights in February.

Otherwise, Minnesota can make the giant splash and trade into the Top 10 for a C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis. With Cousins scheduled to play out his swan song in 2023, some kind of quarterback will likely be on the Vikings draft menu in four weeks.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.