Vikings Fans Were Hoodwinked by Draft Hype Machine

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This was the quarterback speculation for the Minnesota Vikings during the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft. It began in late January.

  1. The Vikings may or may not extend Kirk Cousins’ contract beyond 2023.
  2. Minnesota could trade Cousins to the highest bidder if he waives a no-trade clause.
  3. The Vikings might be a part of the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes.
  4. Minnesota may explore drafting Hendon Hooker in Round 3 or so.
  5. The Vikings performed a cap conversion on Cousins’ contract and did not extend him.
  6. Minnesota mock-drafted Hendon Hooker all over the place in Round 1.
  7. The Vikings could pounce on Will Levis if he falls in the draft.
  8. Minnesota may trade up for Will Levis.
  9. Trey Lance is available, and the Vikings should express interest.
  10. The Vikings might trade everything for Anthony Richardson.

Vikings Fans Were Hoodwinked by Draft Hype Machine

Then, the draft arrived, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah made no trades up the draftboard, passed on Levis and Hooker at pick No. 23, didn’t trade anything to get Levis or Hooker in Round 2, and wound up taking a flyer on developmental quarterback Jaren Hall.

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Everybody — this website included — explored the maybes of the draft hype machine, and in the end, the Vikings sound duly committed to Cousins. Whoodathunkit. Adofo-Mensah told reporters Saturday after the draft, “Kirk doesn’t need to show anything to me. Kirk has played football at a high level before I got to the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, we won 13 games. I don’t know what he would need to prove to me or anybody else.”

“Sometimes you come to a place [in contract talks] where you decide, ‘Hey, let’s talk later. This is a solution for now.’ That’s all that’s happened,” Adofo-Mensah continued.

Fans Were Hoodwinked
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For now, Cousins is under contract through the end of 2023 — and that’s it. He could be extended today, tomorrow, in June, next February, or never.

Adofo-Mensah concluded, “We like where we are at the quarterback position, but every option is open to us going forward. We’re just really excited about Kirk this year. The weapons we’ve added in free agency, the weapons we added in the draft, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

On Wednesday, reporters asked Cousins, “You are now a year from free agency, a year away from having options — does that change anything there at all?”

Cousins smiled and replied, “No, I want to be in Minnesota. That’s kind of a no-brainer. So, hopefully, you know, we can earn the right to do that.”

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None of the best-laid QB plans from pundits and fans came true. In the end, the Vikings actions and lack thereof signaled a continuation of the Cousins era, even if some fans desperately want to move on. Cousins’ new coworker, Jaren Hall, could transform into greatness — or he could fall on the humongous ash heap of 5th-Round quarterbacks like hundreds before him.

In the grand scheme of planning the future for life after Cousins, the Vikings selection of Hall was a whimper — much like draft heads predicting Hooker, Levis, and Richardson as the team’s targets.

It all started on March 21st in a mock draft from’s Daniel Jeremiah. He attached Hooker to the Vikings in Round 1 and wrote, “The Vikings have been doing their homework on this quarterback class. Hooker is well-liked around the league and he could sit for a year behind Kirk Cousins before taking over and ushering in a new era for Kevin O’Connell.”

Hooker-to-Vikings took off — just like every meaty draft-hype nugget before it. The theory became a mainstay of the Vikings mock draft space for over a month.

Ultimately — and unsurprisingly — all the Vikings early-round quarterback theories were draft smoke. Nothing more.

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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