Fans Are Not Thrilled by 1 Vikings Draft Scenario

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With just over four weeks to go until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, the Vikings still have a lot of holes to fill. Byron Murphy, the top signing of the offseason and the top cornerback in the room, needs a running mate, and the options on the roster are questionable at best.

The same can be said about Justin Jefferson and the second wideout spot. If K.J. Osborn is up for the task is debatable. His production as the third option, 655 and 650 yards in the last two campaigns, was decent. Still, his upside in an improved role should be questioned, considering that he had some outstanding breakout games and wholly disappeared in others, at times for a longer span of games.

In addition to those two spots, the Vikings currently don’t have any scary interior defensive linemen or inside linebackers on the roster. All of that could be addressed in the draft’s first round, but the Vikings might go a different route, one that many fans don’t want to see.

Fans Are Not Thrilled by 1 Vikings Draft Scenario

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The purple team could also look for a successor for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who seems to be entering the final stages of his Vikings tenure after not receiving an extension. He is entering a season without an additional year in his contract for the first time in his stint with the Vikings.

Minnesota’s front office has obvious reasons. Cousins will turn 35 in August, an age at which quarterbacks generally start to slow down, except for very few players. Tom Brady remains an outlier. Additionally, Cousins is a veteran passer. Those take up a hefty portion of the cap space.

By all means, he is highly paid, but his salary is right around where it should be. His average of $35 million per season ranks him 11th in the NFL. However, a signal caller on a rookie deal costs a fraction of that, and the Vikings could try to feast on that competitive advantage.

Fans Are Not Thrilled By 1 Vikings Draft Scenario
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Many organizations try to do that, but it hasn’t really shown in Super Bowl winners. Nevertheless, the additional cap space surely doesn’t hurt when pursuing free agents or extending contracts. It is a logical assumption that the analytically-driven GM would at least consider saving resources intelligently.

The Vikings could and should look for the veteran’s successor in the next couple of drafts, and the future franchise QB could be on the team as soon as April 27.

Because of the strong regular season in 2022, the Vikings don’t pick before 23rd overall. The top QB prospects in the draft are expected to be long gone by then, with all four of Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis receiving a lot of top-10 buzz. A huge package would be necessary to trade up into that top 10 and possibly require pick number 23 and at least one more, perhaps even a couple more, first-round selections.

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

The eyes of head coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could turn to the fifth QB in many rankings, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker. Most pundits expect him to go off the board late in the first round or at some point in the second, right in the Vikings’ range. However, the fans don’t like that idea.

The poll was not scientific, and the sample size doesn’t represent the whole fanbase.

Still, the numbers are clear. The majority of the fans don’t want Hooker at 23 for different reasons.

Roydon Richards commented: “I really like this guy. Not in the first round but getting him in the second or early third would be great.”

Hooker in the first round is a stretch for many, especially for three reasons. He is older than most prospects. He turned 25 in January, is coming off a torn ACL, and has played in a relatively simple offense.

Logan Barrett has similar things to say: “He’s older and still needs to develop. Unless I missed something huge this feels like a massive reach. If you trade down from 23 and the extra picks turn into him HELL YEAH! But at 23? No thanks.”

Hooker in the 3rd
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports.

What did the 17.5% see to vote for Hooker? He is an athletic quarterback and a real threat in the running game. He is an excellent decision-maker in the passing game who takes care of the football and doesn’t turn it over frequently. Hooker is most likely the best QB option available when the Vikings are on the clock. Click here for an extensive Hooker scouting report.

Both sides certainly have some valid arguments. Perhaps if the Vikings could get him in the second round, either by trading down from 23rd overall or trading up from the third round, the fanbase would welcome the prospect with open arms.

The Vikings are in the market for a QB early in the draft for the first time since 2014. If they make the right pick, it might be another decade until they are in the same position again.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt