Vikings Reportedly Only Wanted 1 Specific QB via Trade in Draft

Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (QB15) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t simply want a quarterback if they traded up in the 2023 NFL Draft. The franchise’s leaders wanted a particular one, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

And that was Bryce Young, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers.

Vikings Reportedly Only Wanted 1 Specific QB via Trade in Draft

Current quarterback Kirk Cousins is under contract for just one more season, at least for now. He could be extended at any minute, but that remains to be seen. The Vikings opted not to extend his deal in March before free agency, instead pushing $28.5 million of his earnings into the future as a dead cap hit.

Only Wanted 1 Specific
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.

Then, Minnesota scooped BYU’s Jaren Hall from Round 5 of April’s draft, a developmental prospect who may or may not amount to anything.

Regarding the Vikings quarterback draft theories, Pelissero appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday to explain. He told McAfee, “There were all those draft rumors. Half of those are just completely wrong. A lot of the stuff with the Vikings trading up for the quarterbacks was proven wrong. Will Levis was sitting there when the Vikings’ pick came up at No. 23 and they didn’t take him.”

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Pelissero then mentioned the Vikings ardor for Young, “They were making calls about moving up very high in the draft, but my understanding is that was for one player and that was Bryce Young, who ended up going No. 1, and so there went any possibility for Minnesota to go get him.”

Minnesota’s — or anybody’s — price to trade for Young would’ve been astronomical, especially because Carolina already traded the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick. The Panthers traded up the draftboard for a reason — to land Young — so the Vikings focus on Young would’ve only been relevant if the Alabama alumnus dropped a few spots on draft night. That didn’t happen.

Sep 17, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) reacts during the second half against the UL Monroe Warhawks at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports.

Too, Minnesota targeting Young would make sense. That is — the only player they’d sell the farm for was the best quarterback prospect in the whole draft. Trading with the Bears or Panthers for the No. 1 pick would’ve cost at least three 1st-Rounders and then some.

It turned out rather evident that the Vikings didn’t have a 1st-Round grade on the aforementioned Levis or Hendon Hooker. They would’ve selected one of the men with the 23rd overall pick if they did.

Nobody tickled the Vikings fancy quite like Young, a theory that checks out because Minnesota spent no early-round draft capital on a quarterback. All the Levis and Hooker theories were draft smoke, and Minnesota didn’t trade up because “their guy” was Young — who was also the Panthers guy.

The Vikings will now either extend Cousins through 2024 or so, trade for a new quarterback next offseason, or explore the 2024 NFL draft for Cousins’ replacement.

Minnesota travels to Young’s Panthers sometime in the 2023 season for a regular season showdown.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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