Vikings Next QB Might Be a Choice of 2 Guys

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Certainly, the Minnesota Vikings could end up with C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, but a trade package for the endeavor would probably be too portly for the team with just five draft picks, including no 2nd-Rounder.

Next QB Might Be
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Current quarterback Kirk Cousins is under contract for just one more season, the first time he’s encountered such a standing since 2017. The Vikings appear to be clearing an exit ramp for Cousins around this time next year.

Vikings Next QB Might Be a Choice of 2 Guys

And because Cousins could experience his purple swan song in 2023 and the problem of the Vikings not having a bevy of draft capital for one of this draft class’ “Big Four” quarterbacks, the signal-caller after Cousins might be a decision between two mid-round rookies.

These are those men.

Hendon Hooker

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The Tennessee Volunteer is arguably the most popular Vikings draft theory from the last two weeks. The powerful NFL draft hype machine has decided Hooker should become a Viking at the end of the month. Per sportsbooks, Minnesota is even the likeliest team of 32 to draft the 25-year-old.

His “problem” is twofold — he’s old for a rookie and is recovering from a shredded ACL. Hooker wouldn’t play for the Vikings in 2023 sans an emergency, but if he took the baton in 2024 and if he led Minnesota to the postseason, he’d be 27 years old during that game. That’s a wildly uninspiring factoid for some, especially as the Vikings near the rebirth of the rookie QB experiment.

Hooker is fantastic, however. He launched 58 touchdown passes to just 5 interceptions in 24 games at Tennessee. He does everything the “Big Four” can do — he’s just old and injured.

Some draft brains believe the Vikings will have to reach for Hooker in the 1st Round, but when it’s all said and done, he should return to his original 3rd-Round draft stock. And perhaps there, the Vikings will strike.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson

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Suddenly, like Hooker, Thompson-Robinson is gaining steam, too. He’s a Round 4 type of quarterback, which, of course, inspires memories of Dak Prescott in 2016 or Kirk Cousins in 2012. The dirty little secret, though, is that Prescott, Cousins, and Russell Wilson are really the only quarterbacks in the last 20 years from Rounds 3-7 to catch on. The other 97% flop or underwhelm.

Last week, The Athletic’s Alec Lewis mock-drafted Thompson-Robinson to the Vikings 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.”

“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.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid did the same thing via mock draft the day after Lewis.

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.

He’s a bigger question mark than Hooker, but he isn’t injured, nor will he be 26 by the time the 2023 regular season caps. Thompson-Robinson is 23.

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).

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