One Vikings Climax Will Come to Light during NFL Draft

Draft Plan Just Got
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

For the first time in five years, the Minnesota Vikings could be nearing a swap at quarterback — or at least planning for “the next guy.”

Kirk Cousins is under contract for just one more season and may be a free agent in about 11 months.

One Vikings Climax Will Come to Light during NFL Draft

If that is the case and the Vikings don’t extend Cousins beyond 2023, the team will need a new quarterback, meaning the preparation can start as early as now. The 2023 NFL Draft is 25 days away, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could identify his future QB during the event.

What the Vikings do during this draft at quarterback is the grand climax heading to a living room near you. The slow march began the moment Minnesota converted some of Cousins’ 2023 salary to 2024+ dead cap hit, using the “kick the can down the road” philosophy.

This is how the next-QB climax could shake down during the draft.

A 1st-Rounder

One Vikings Climax
Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) salutes while carrying a bag of Skittles in his mouth while walking on Steve Spurrier-Florida Field during Gator Walk at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, September 10, 2022. © Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Adofo-Mensah has a few options in Round 1:

  1. Trade multiple draft assets somewhere in the Top 10 for C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. It’s the most expensive option.
  2. Pray Levis or Richardson tumble in the draft after the Top 10, making the trade price more affordable.
  3. Experience a Levis or Richardson tumble all the way to the Vikings pick, No. 23.
  4. Reach for Hendon Hooker or Tanner McKee.

Any of these choices would immediately spell 2023 as Cousins’ final year with the Vikings, which is currently a mystery and basically an assumption because his contract wasn’t extended.

A Mid-to-Late Rounder

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports.

Assuming the Vikings don’t reach for Hendon Hooker in Round 1, Adofo-Mensah could spend anywhere from a Round 3 to 7 pick on him, Jaren Hall, Clayton Tune, or Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

The problem, though, is quarterbacks that late in a draft act even more like lottery tickets than 1st-Rounders. Folks love to point to Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and even Cousins as non-1st-Rounders that panned out — but most don’t.

Drafting Hooker, Hall, Tune, or Thompson-Robinson would really just mean the Vikings have someone young on the QB depth chart. Hooker might have more upside than the others, but he’s “old” and recovering from injury.

Of course, fans would find a way to get excited about the rookie quarterback. However, he’d truly be developmental if chosen from Rounds 3-7.

Need an example? Kellen Mond.

Do Nothing.

Vikings Get Steal
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps this climax is overblown. If the Vikings select zero quarterbacks from April 27th to 29th, then it remains The Cousins Show, and Adofo-Mensah could have the intention of re-signing him between now and next March. But he probably would’ve done that by now.

Minnesota has a unique chance to marry two worlds, implementing Cousins’ Top-12-in-the-league production for at least one more year while grooming the next guy — a la the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.

Most Vikings fans believe Adofo-Mensah is bright enough to circle the next QB1 now rather than procrastinating, so the anticipation builds on the Vikings quarterback configuration and won’t relent until there’s a verdict at the end of the month.

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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