All Things Vikings Marching to One Grand Climax

no quit
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah talks with head coach Kevin O’Connell prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings embark on a road affair this Sunday with the winless Carolina Panthers, two teams hoping to get off the schneid with their first win of 2023

But no matter what happens for the Vikings in Charlotte, all things Vikings are marching to one grand climax that will likely unfold in the next seven months.

All Things Vikings Marching to One Grand Climax

This season could be salvaged, but if that occurs, the Vikings 2023 ceiling likely doesn’t involve a Super Bowl. The defense isn’t quite talented enough, and turnovers don’t typically vanish for good inside of a standalone season.

So, whether Minnesota finishes 5-12 or 9-8, the organization is amid a steady march to find its next quarterback. Here’s why.

Unlikely to Roll with Cousins for a 7th Season

Vikings Marching
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Listen, Kirk Cousins is keeping the Vikings season afloat in 2023. The problem? A 0-3 record isn’t necessarily afloat. It’s sinking, in fact.

The Vikings employ a quarterback on the final year of his contract and currently hold the NFL’s worst record. If you step back for a minute and really think about that, it probably means The Cousins Era in Minneapolis is in its final months.

In theory, Minnesota could blitz the league in the next 14 games and become totally spectacular, but that’s fantasyland. While it’s “not Cousins’ fault,” the Vikings are losing at a horrid clip at the moment, and change is likely afoot.

The Arguable 45-Year Drought

Jan 9, 1977, Pasadena, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10) in action against the Oakland Raiders during Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl. The Raiders defeated the Vikings 32-14 to win their first Super Bowl championship. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports.

Yes, the Vikings have drafted Tommy Kramer, Daunte Culpepper, and Teddy Bridgewater in the last four decades, and each man offered some degree of success.

However, Minnesota hasn’t drafted a quarterback that translated to Super Bowl appearances since Fran Tarkenton, and he retired 45 years ago.

Once and for all, the Vikings absolutely must end the quarterback drought, finally drafting one who reminds fans of current QB1s like Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, or Joe Burrow. Patrick Mahomes was excluded from the mini-list because no one will be as god-like as that.

In the Super Bowl era (since 1966), the Vikings have the NFL’s fifth-best win percentage (.559) but no Lombardi Trophy to show for it. This is because, after Tarkenton hung it up, the organization failed repeatedly to draft the next Tarkenton. In the last 45 years, it’s been decent or good passers — not Hall of Famers.

The Vikings are due to draft a Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s time.

Adofo-Mensah + O’Connell’s Guy

dead period
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.

Make no mistake. Hitting on the quarterback after Cousins is the single most important business order Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will conduct, and Kevin O’Connell’s tutelage of that man echoes the stakes.

In fact, if Adofo-Mensah drafts a quarterback whom the NFL body politic eventually considers a Top-5-in-the-league talent, nobody — nobody at all — will care that his first draft was filled with mistakes.

So, knowing that 2023 is the final year of Cousins’ contract and understanding that the semi-new leadership regime will want to sculpt their own young passer at some point, a new QB1 is heading to Vikings football near you.

Before too long, Justin Jefferson will sign an elephantine contract extension, and the best way to balance out his enormous earnings is to employ a quarterback on a rookie deal.

And the climax to end all climaxes is whether Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell get the QB draft pick right.

The suspense should keep you, the Vikings fan, up at night.

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).

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