Comparing Trey Lance to Hendon Hooker

Vikings Draft Buzz -- Hendon Hooker
Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (QB07) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t take a whole lot to throw any NFL fanbase into a tizzy the week before the NFL Draft is scheduled to take place. For Vikings fans, you sprinkle in an idea surrounding a trade for a QB or drafting a first-round QB, and you’ll see the Minnesota fans go straight to DEFCON 1. This is precisely where we’ve been living for the past few weeks.

The first flames of fervor were fanned with reports surfacing with analysts putting Hooker’s draft value right around the Vikings 23rd overall pick at the back half of the first round. Then it continues with reports that the Vikings would be meeting with Hooker leading up to the draft.

Comparing Trey Lance to Hendon Hooker

The excitement reached a fever pitch earlier this week when the conversation once again shifted towards conversations between the Vikings and the 49ers surrounding the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 Draft, Trey Lance. Sources claimed that discussion surrounding a trade popped up again at the owners’ meetings, and as draft day got closer, the possibilities continued to take shape.

Comparing Trey Lance
Oct 31, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) practices before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

Cue the back-and-forth discourse on all the social media channels…

So rather than pretend we’ve got the team’s GM on speed dial and are ported into the inside information on who they like, let’s compare based on what we know.

Here’s what we know…Trey Lance and Hendon Hooker have taken different routes to where they are today, but they remain two of the most intriguing young quarterbacks in and ready to enter the NFL. In theory, both have high ceilings and have shown attributes that lead us to believe they could be franchise quarterbacks in the future. However, enough question marks also need to be addressed for both!

Hooker Could Solve
Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (QB07) looks on at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

As noted, Lance was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Depth charts and injuries have plagued him through two professional seasons, but he remains a raw talent with high potential. He has a strong arm and is a good runner.

However, he needs to develop his accuracy and decision-making skills. He must also learn to read defenses better, but that will likely come with good health and experience. He’s incredibly young and could still develop into the quarterback that the 49ers thought he might be in ’21. Looking back at Lance’s lone true season as a starter in college and you’ll see he tallied 2,786 yards passing with 28 TDs through the air, but then he added another 1,100 yards rushing, and FOURTEEN touchdown runs himself!

For Hooker, he’d be entering the NFL nearly three years older (25) than Lance is today (22). Oh, and he’s coming off a torn ACL suffered last November. Originally projected as a Day 2 pick in the draft, Hooker’s stock has been rising of late as people hone in on what he was able to accomplish on the field his past two seasons in college. 2021 saw Hooker throw for 2,945 yards and 31 TDs, rushing for 616 and another five scores. 2022 saw much of the same, with 3,135 yards passing with 27 TDs and another 430 yards and five TDs on the ground.

Looking at their player profiles, here are a few attributes to continue the comparison…

Trey Lance

  • Pros: Strong arm, good runner, high ceiling
  • Cons: Raw talent, needs to develop accuracy and decision-making skills, needs to learn how to read defenses better

Hendon Hooker

  • Pros: Experienced, accurate passer, good decision-maker, can make plays with his legs
  • Cons: Not as athletic as Lance, had a breakout season in 2022, so it remains to be seen if he can sustain that level of play

Ultimately, the best quarterback between Lance and Hooker will be the one who can develop their skills and make the most of their opportunities. Both quarterbacks have the potential to be franchise quarterbacks, but it remains to be seen who will reach their full potential first.

Vikings Clearing Cap
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Then there’s the cost…

Lance might cost you a couple of mid-round picks to acquire via trade, and he only has two years left on his rookie deal (plus a team option in ’25). Then Hooker would likely cost you your first-round pick, which the Vikings could certainly use elsewhere if they went a different direction.

Early results are in, and putting the cost to the side, it seems the fans have slightly more confidence in Lance working out at the NFL level than they do in Hooker.

Still, neither seems to be instilling high levels of confidence. Which way would you lean?