Former Vikings Boss Leary of Will Levis

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The Minnesota Vikings do not have a sensational history of drafting quarterbacks in the last 50 years, and that’s the main reason they end up with non-rookie resolutions like Kirk Cousins and Sam Bradford — just to name a couple from the dozens.

During former general manager Rick Spielman’s tenure, the Vikings swung and missed on almost every quarterback, from Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen, John David Booty, Christian Ponder, Teddy Bridgewater, and Nate Stanley to Kellen Mond. Of course, Bridgewater wasn’t a total flop, but injuries derailed his purple career.

Former Vikings Boss Leary of Will Levis

Well, even with a wildly underwhelming quarterback draft track record, Spielman is still providing his scouting reports for the NFL think-tank site, The 33rd Team. And wouldn’t you know it — he opined this week about a quarterback possibly on the Vikings draft radar, Will Levis from the Kentucky Wildcats.

Vikings Boss Leary
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

While not offering any sort of indictment on Levis, Spielman believes Levis’ peers, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, are better bets in the 2023 NFL Draft. Spielman scrutinized Levis’ mechanics this week, “Will Levis may have the strongest arm, but my issue with Will Levis is his upper-body development and how tight he is. When he has to make off-schedule throws or on the move, he really struggles to put touch on the ball.”

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) throws during an NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. © Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK.

“It looks forced when he tries to put touch on the ball, and his accuracy falls off. When you watch C.J. Stroud’s Pro Day, or you watch Bryce Young’s Pro Day, those guys are just so natural with not only putting touch on the ball but also velocity on the ball,” Spielman continued.

The Vikings may or may not draft Levis, as the man’s draft stock is like pinball at the moment. He could be selected in the Top 5, fall to the 11th-16th region, maybe hit the Vikings spot at No. 23, or become a Day 2 pick. One can tell its draft season when those are the parameters of a quarterback’s draft placement.

QB Trend Continues
University of Kentucky senior quarterback Will Levis showed his passing form during a Pro Day workout at Nutter Field House in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, Mar. 24, 2023. © Jeff Faughender/Courier Journal and USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Spielman concluded, “I would’ve had Will Levis behind Bryce Young and definitely behind C.J. Stroud.”

The flashing-lights takeaway here might just be this: if Spielman isn’t enamored with Levis, maybe the Vikings should draft him. It’s like a “do the opposite of what that guy says” approach because Spielman’s QB solutions in Minnesota flatly didn’t work. He could find veteran quarterbacks with ease — Brett Favre, Case Keenum, and Kirk Cousins can tell you all about it — but the draft record was nearly laughable.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The big mystery — which will remain unknowable for four more weeks — is how Spielman’s successor, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, feels about Levis and the rest of the QB draft class. His opinion [and it only] is applicable in 2023.

Adofo-Mensah didn’t extend Cousins’ contract this offseason, setting up a grand climax with a rookie quarterback selection sometime in the 2023 or 2024 NFL Draft. It could be Levis; it could be a person from the 2024 draft you’ve never heard of as of now.

Left up to Spielman, however, Levis likely wouldn’t have become a Viking if he was still the skipper.

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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