QB for Vikings in Round 1 Has Taken over Draft Stratosphere

Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports.

First, South Carolina CB Cam Smith was a mock draft darling for the Minnesota Vikings. Then, right before free agency, Deonte Banks from Maryland, also a corner, took center stage.

And along the way, wide receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Zay Flowers (Boston College), and Jordan Addison have weaseled into Vikings mock drafts — sensible theories, to be sure.

QB for Vikings in Round 1 Has Taken over Draft Stratosphere

But this week everything changed. The “powers that be” via mock drafting have decided that Vikings bossman Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will target a quarterback in Round 1. It’s all over the place.

Here’s the evidence.

Hendon Hooker Started the Fun

QB for Vikings in
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports.

Let’s get this out of the way — this man is supposed to be drafted in Round 3.

Somehow, the draft-hype machine has dragged Hooker into Round 1 for — you guessed it — the Vikings. Hooker tore his ACL in November, is already 25 years old, and isn’t a Top 10 pick accordingly.

But he became a Vikings sweetheart this week, courtesy of NFL.com. Daniel Jeremiah explained in his latest mock draft, “The Vikings have been doing their homework on this quarterback class. Hooker is well-liked around the league and he could sit for a year behind Kirk Cousins before taking over and ushering in a new era for Kevin O’Connell.”

The Volunteer undoubtedly has the tools to become a fantastic QB1. His list of weaknesses is teensy. But the age and injuries have frightened general managers and draft pundits — until Jeremiah got wild on Tuesday.

Don’t Forget Will Levis

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports.

Hooker was just the beginning. Levis entered the chart on the same day.

Alec Lewis proposed a Vikings trade with the Las Vegas Raiders for the 7th overall pick in The Athletic’s latest mock draft. Lewis sent the Vikings No. 23, 87, and 2024 first-round draft capital to Las Vegas for the pick that would draft Levis and a 6th-Rounder.

He explained, “The Vikings’ future at quarterback is in question. Kirk Cousins remains under contract through 2023. The team has yet to extend him. Until they do, thinking about the team’s next thrower of the football is worthwhile. Though it might be tempting to save key 2024 draft capital, especially with the potential QBs in next year’s NFL Draft, the Vikings could benefit from adding a QB now.”

“Levis, a strong-armed passer, played for Liam Coen in 2021 at Kentucky. Coen spent three years on the Rams staff with O’Connell from 2018 to 2020, then replaced him as L.A.’s offensive coordinator in 2022. Leaping to No. 7 would take some heavy lifting, but the time comes for every team to shoot its shot,” Lewis concluded.

And this is the splashiest proposed Vikings QB-themed trade to date this offseason.

Oh Look, More Hooker

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks for an open receiver during the NCAA college football game against Missouri on Saturday, November 12, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. © Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK.

“The Vikings have other needs, but instead of hoping to bottom out or attempt to a glut of extra picks to move up in next year’s draft to pick a quarterback, they pick Hooker and get him with the fifth-year option,” CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso opined about Hooker to Minnesota in Round 1.

He explored the fifth-year option, which is indeed intriguing. Still, Hooker should be considered a reach for the Vikings this early. If Minnesota gets to the postseason in Year One of Hooker’s services (2024), the man will be 27 years old in his first playoff game.

Levis Again

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Finally, the latest gem in the Vikings brand new — alleged — fascination with a quarterback in 1st Round. It’s another Levis nod, and this time, he fell all the way to No. 23. This should be coined “the best-case scenario” by Vikings fans.

NFL.com’s Charles Davis wrote in his Thursday mock draft, “Finally! Teams picking as high as No. 4 overall will likely consider the big-armed passer from Kentucky, but he lands with QB-friendly coach Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota as the franchise’s signal-caller for the future.”

“And, if Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker had not suffered an ACL tear late last season, a HEAVY debate would be had about the former Volunteer being picked in this spot, or others, in Round 1,” Clay theorized.

Before you know it, we’ll talk ourselves into a Vikings trade for C.J. Stroud.

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.