Sanders Mania Could Affect Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are 0-2, employ a 35-year-old quarterback on his contract’s final year, and have no clear-cut plan for life after that veteran passer.

About 900 miles southwest, Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes, has gripped college football. And his son plays quarterback for that 3-0 squad.

Sanders Mania Could Affect Vikings

That 21-year-old is Shedeur Sanders, who led a 98-yard drive late in the 4th Quarter Saturday night to eventually knock off the rival Colorado State Rams, 43-34, in double overtime.

Sanders Mania Could
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How would Sanders, the son, get to the Vikings? Well, it’s quite simple. Pull up any credible mock draft on the internet from the last few days, and one will find the young quarterback’s mock draft placement anywhere from 12th to 20th in Round 1, give or take — which is where Minnesota will draft if it gets off the schneid from the winless start and salvages the 2023 season.

All the draft rage involves USC’s Caleb Williams and Drake Maye of North Carolina — rightfully so — but the Vikings, an anti-tanking organization, likely won’t possess the draft capital to draft Williams or Maye unless they trade oodles of draft capital to claw into the Top 5 next April.

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But Sanders is the compromise, the player who probably won’t climb all the way into the Top 5 or Top 10, living in the middle of Round 1 for mediocre 2023 teams hoping to improve at QB1. As of September, it is unclear if Minnesota would draft Sanders and retain Kirk Cousins for an extra year, but that’s what the offseason is for: Cousins-themed speculation, draft hype, and the actual event early next year.

Sanders said Saturday night after the improbable comeback, “At the 2-yardline all I was thinking was ‘Brady mode.’ Brady mode, that’s it. You left too much time out there.”

He also said he maintains a somewhat close relationship with Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, texting one another after games and such.

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The Vikings employ 2023 rookie quarterback Jaren Hall, who performed decent in the preseason, but no one is too sure if the club has him pegged as a future QB1 or career-long QB2. In all likelihood, when Minnesota cuts ties with Cousins, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will swing for the fences in the draft with “his guy,” perhaps Sanders or another 1st-Round passer in 2024 or 2025.

Earlier this week, Pro Football Network mock-drafted Sanders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 11th pick. PFN’s Jack Borowsky explained, “Tampa Bay could look to move up to take a quarterback, as Baker Mayfield isn’t the long-term answer. Sanders has been the biggest riser in college football through two weeks. His accuracy to all field levels, ball placement, and touch shows he is a high-floor player. Sanders is just a solid athlete, but what he can do as a passer is hard to find.”

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Sanders’ strengths include athleticism, arm strength, and mobility, while the only real knock at the moment is consistency and, of course, NFL refinement.

The Vikings haven’t drafted a player from the University of Colorado in 46 years, a running back from Round 12 named Jim Kelleher, who never played in the NFL.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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