Vikings Urged to Monitor Promising College Quarterback

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Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is moving forward with the strategy he calls “competitive rebuild,” and a bunch of aging players had to depart from the organization as a consequence.

Vikings Urged to Monitor Promising College Quarterback

He plans to form a younger roster with less money tied to those aging players while simultaneously improving the team. The team indeed got younger, he cleared a lot of cap space doing so, and the franchise should still be at the very least in playoff contention, even if they aren’t viewed as true Super Bowl contenders.

Also part of that strategy, and a crucial step next offseason, is the decision at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is in the final year of his contract and could enter free agency after six seasons with the club if the two sides can’t find a compromise in roughly eight months. Adofo-Mensah must identify the next franchise QB at some point to keep the team in competitive shape.

Vikings Urged to Monitor Promising College Quarterback
Dec 28, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) looks to pass during the second half of the 2022 Holiday Bowl against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Dalton Wasserman from PFF named one college player to watch for each team in the upcoming season, and he picked a passer for the Vikings. Cornerback, linebacker, and quarterback are the needs he named for the purple team, and he is totally right with that assessment. But it should be noted that the Vikings chose three cornerbacks in the last two drafts, and there is a good chance that at least one of them can actually play. Regardless, Bo Nix, the QB from Oregon, is his guy for the Vikings.

Minnesota’s 2022 season was defined by playing poor defense and then overcoming it in close games with great offense. While the defense certainly needs more resources allocated in its direction, the Vikings can’t ignore the fact that Kirk Cousins will be 35 this season and is entering a contract year.

The Vikings most likely won’t be bad enough to enter the Caleb Williams sweepstakes, so someone like Oregon’s Bo Nix could be an option later in the first round. Nix is a solid rhythm passer who gets rid of the ball quickly and does some of his best work on the move. He offers more mobility than Cousins to run Kevin O’Connell’s outside zone/boot system. Nix is considered a Heisman dark horse and could vault himself into the first round with another big year at Oregon.

Dalton Wasserman, PFF
Nov 12, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) carries the ball during the first half against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Acquiring a quarterback with some extra mobility could help Kevin O’Connell add different layers to the offense. While Cousins is one of the better pure throwers in football, he will never be a player who can create something with his legs during broken plays, and he can’t execute designed QB runs. Nix can do that. He possesses a strong arm, the creativity, and the athleticism to be a successful modern-day NFL quarterback.

However, where he struggles are some things Cousins does well. He must learn to be more accurate and consistent on his throws, and his decision-making, especially his ability to read the field, must improve to be a trustworthy NFL passer.

A negative aspect is also that Nix will be 24 years old when the draft kicks off. On the flip side, he will have a lot of football played in his college career. Nix has already thrown 1,466 passes for more than 10,800 yards and 68 touchdowns for Auburn and Oregon and has another year left to add to those numbers. One thousand three hundred seventy-nine rushing yards and 32 scores prove his ability to run the ball. He ran for 14 touchdowns in 2022 alone.

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Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) talk during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Nix is a talented player with a high upside, but he needs to be in the right situation and have competent coaching. Playing under former NFL quarterback and offensive-minded head coach O’Connell could help him improve his throwing mechanics. Having Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Christian Darrisaw on the same team will also be a big help for him early in his career. There might not be a better situation to enter for a young quarterback than the Vikings in the 2024 draft.

This is the first of many quarterbacks to be linked to the Vikings in the next ten months.

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