Vikings NFC Rivals Could Play Spoiler to a Popular Draft Scenario

Hooker Could Solve
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Over the past few weeks, there has been growing buzz that the Minnesota Vikings could select QB Hendon Hooker at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft. Ideally, if this scenario were to play out, the Vikings would take him with a Day 2 pick, perhaps in the second round, assuming Minnesota trades out of the 23rd overall pick.

However, it appears that a few teams, in particular one of the Vikings NFC rivals, could play spoiler to this scenario. That NFC rival is the New Orleans Saints, who will play host to Hooker ahead of the draft, which was reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Hooker in the 3rd
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New Orleans, of course, handed QB Derek Carr a lucrative contract this offseason worth a total of $150 million over the next four years. That being said, the Saints could opt to move on from Carr following the 2024 season and save $28.6 million against the cap in 2025 and $44.3 million in 2026.

Currently, the New Orleans Saints hold the 29th overall pick in the first round, and if they truly want to land Hooker, they may be planning on using that pick to land the Tennessee QB. This would throw a wrench into any plans the Vikings may have in snagging him. Otherwise, the Saints also hold the 40th overall pick where they could look to select the QB.

Drops Mock Draft
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Hooker, 25, is an intriguing prospect largely because of the efficiency he showed with the Vols over the past few seasons. He completed 68.8% of his passes between 2021 and 2022, totaling 6080 yards, 58 TDs, and just 5 INTs. He also brings ideal NFL size to the table at 6’4″, and he flashes some mobility in the pocket.

However, a number of red flags come with Hooker as well. His 2022 season ended with a torn ACL in November, which certainly could impact his ability to start right away for a franchise. Additionally, his age will be a concern for teams, seeing as he likely won’t take the field until he is 26 years old.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) drags South Alabama inside linebacker Ke’Shun Brown (35) with him toward the end zone during a football game against South Alabama at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Kns Tennessee South Alabam Football Bp

For his actual play, Hooker benefited from a Tennessee offense that was filled with one-read looks and a roster chock-full of NFL talent, including top WR prospects Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman.

We will soon find out the answers to all these questions and draft scenarios when the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off later this month on Thursday, April 27th.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.