Purple Rumor Mill: Likelihood of QB in Draft, Brian Branch Connection, Hendon Hooker

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the April 8th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Likelihood of QB in Draft, Brian Branch Connection, Hendon Hooker

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings “have to” draft a quarterback at the end of the month.

Trade for Vikings in
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

No, the Vikings don’t have to draft a quarterback in three weeks — but they should.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has a golden opportunity to “do both.” He can employ Kirk Cousins in 2023, whose resume is as productive as hell, while prepping the Cousins afterlife. And that can be Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, Hendon Hooker, or Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Levis and Richardson might require a trade up the draft board, but no one has ruled that out.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert described the Vikings quarterback situation this week, “As with many of the Vikings’ other decisions in this consequential offseason, the best path forward is not obvious. Last year, Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell elected not to address the future of the position. It would be a good idea this year, if not compulsory. In 2024, they would likely have no choice.”

To have the best of both worlds, the Vikings should draft a quarterback. Otherwise, they’ll just wait until the need is emergent.

Rumor: Minnesota has a connection to Brian Branch and may draft the defender in three weeks.

Brian Branch Connection
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have a new defensive coordinator in Brian Flores, and he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019 to 2021.

On his watch in Miami, the Dolphins drafted three men from the University of Alabama in Rounds 1 and 2 — in three years. Brian Branch is from Alabama and feels like the type of defender Flores covets — versatile and productive.

His draft sticker says safety, and the Vikings don’t need any more of those, but if Branch could be used as a hybrid, then the sky is the limit for his Vikings career.

Theorizing Branch to Minnesota is not a dumb idea, and you should prepare for it as a real possibility. They’re even conducting a Top-30 visit with Branch.

Rumor: Hendon Hooker could be the Vikings QB1 in 2024.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker during Tennessee Football Pro Day at the Anderson Training Facility in Knoxville, Tenn. on Thursday, March 30, 2023. © Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK.

This one has spread like a virus in the last two weeks, with multiple credible draft minds linking Hooker to the Vikings.

It’s not just a fringe theory anymore.

When Hooker-to-Minnesota smoke began billowing, it was supposed to be a Round 3 draft relationship. But the draft machine has dragged Hooker into Round 1 to — you guessed it — the Vikings.

Based on his draft stock, Adofo-Mensah using his No. 23 pick would be a severe “reach.” He’s recovering from an ACL tear suffered in November, and by the time he leads a team in 2024, he’ll be 26 years old and 27 if he reaches the postseason.

Hooker shouldn’t be considered a “lock” to join the Vikings in the 1st Round, but if he slides down the board to Round 3 — which he should due to age and injury history — the Vikings could strike. They’ve reportedly done extensive homework on the Volunteer, perhaps more than any team 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 Viking 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 OverTheCap.com.