Top of Draft Could Get Wild. Should the Vikings Participate?

Josh Frey's 2023 NFL Mock Draft (3.0)
Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) walks off the field during the second quarter of the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan Wolverines. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Most NFL fans and pundits believe Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young, two quarterbacks, will fly off the draftboard in some order at Pick Nos. 1 and 2 to the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans on April 27th.

But what if they don’t?

Top of Draft Could Get Wild. Should the Vikings Participate?

That what-if is prompting chatter on the No. 3 pick, currently owned by the Arizona Cardinals. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Monday, “At least six teams have inquired with the Arizona Cardinals about trading up for the third overall pick in the upcoming April 27 NFL Draft, per league sources. Cardinals still are mulling whether to move pick or make it.”

Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) evades pressure from the Georgia Bulldogs during the second quarter of the 2022 Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Why is this happening? Well, six teams are either supremely fascinated by quarterback Anthony Richardson from Florida — or six general managers believe Stroud or Young will be available at the No. 3 spot.

After the Schefter tweet, fans of QB-needy teams — which may include the Minnesota Vikings because Kirk Cousins is only under contract for one more season — wondered, “Is my team one of the six?”

And the Vikings aren’t excluded from the conversation. If the Panthers or Texans do something funky like not draft Stroud and Young at picks one and two, Minnesota could theoretically pounce — like the other six inquirers (if the Vikings aren’t one of the six in the first place).

Top of Draft Could
May 24, 2022; Santa Ana, California USA; Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama (2021) at press conference during the Mater Dei High Heisman Homecoming ceremony at the Meruelo Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

This is the 2023 draft order as of April 10th:

1) Carolina Panthers (from Chicago)
2) Houston Texans
3) Arizona Cardinals
4) Indianapolis Colts
5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
6) Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams)
7) Las Vegas Raiders
8) Atlanta Falcons
9) Chicago Bears (from Carolina)
10) Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans)
11) Tennessee Titans
12) Houston Texans (from Cleveland)

Three weeks ago, former Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said about Carolina’s draft plans, “I think it’s gonna be a very, very surprising pick in Carolina. I just know that there are a couple of guys upstairs that are enamored by the physical ability of Anthony Richardson. I’ll just say that.”

If Davis is correct — a big if — the Vikings could strike for Stroud or Young via trade with the Cardinals. Vikings boss Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would likely have to donate the following trade package for Arizona’s 3rd overall pick:

  • 2023 1st-Rounder
  • 2024 1st-Rounder
  • 2025 1st-Rounder
  • 2023 3rd-Rounder

Then, Stroud or Young could be his QB plan for life after Cousins.

NFC Rivals Could Play Spoiler to Ideal Vikings Draft Scenario
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the team’s year-end press conference for the 2022 season after losing to the New York Giants in the playoffs.

The trade package is ginormous, and oodles of Vikings fans would inevitably say no thanks. But the asset swap would afford Minnesota a beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt plan for the next QB1. Moreover, any trade for a “sure thing” at quarterback near the top of the draft will cost this price. The Vikings can pull the trigger now — or wait until they have no other choice.

The idea is bold and probably won’t come to fruition because the price is too steep, but if the Vikings can verifiably land C.J. Stroud for three 1sts and a 3rd, this might be “the way” to end the Vikings woes in drafting quarterbacks.

Aside from six seasons of Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings haven’t nailed a quarterback selection in the draft in 40+ years.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by