All Vikings Fans Should Be on QB Watch Saturday

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So far in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings have drafted two USC Trojans, WR Jordan Addison and CB Mekhi Blackmon, and traded back in Round 3 for an additional 5th- and 7th-Rounder with the San Francisco 49ers.

The team is expected to draft more defensive players Saturday, with five more picks to spend in Rounds 4-7.

All Vikings Fans Should Be on QB Watch Saturday

But don’t rule out a quarterback. You may want to expect one, even.

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In March, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose to orchestrate a cap conversion with Kirk Cousins’ contract, alleviating cap pain in 2023 by nudging $28.5 million into 2024+. He could’ve extended Cousins by an extra year or two, the usual method in handling Cousins’ contract in the offseason.

Adofo-Mensah didn’t do that, though, perhaps signaling a QB escape hatch after the 2023 season.

Therefore, with no quarterback besides Nick Mullens connected to the roster in 2024, the 2023 NFL Draft felt like a reasonable time to nominate a successor. The Vikings haven’t done so, leaving Day 3 as the final day to effectuate the would-be plan.

O’Connell was asked on Friday afternoon about drafting a quarterback after Round 1. He replied, “As I evaluated the whole class for this year, there was a lot to be excited about. That goes for what lies ahead for what potentially could be there. We don’t have a ton of picks. We need to be aware of — regardless of the position we take — we’ve got to have a real plan for how that player will impact our team this year and moving forward.”

So, who could the Vikings target? Well, about five men.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), Jake Haener (Fresno State), Jaren Hall (BYU), Tanner McKee (Stanford), and Clayton Tune (Houston) are the candidates. Thompson-Robinson possesses the most electric upside. He’s fast, mobile, and has a powerful arm. But some question his build (6’1″ and 200 pounds). Haener and Hall are similar; mobile and scrappy. McKee is lanky and giraffe-like but is probably the closest thing stylistically to Cousins left on the board. Tune is intriguing but lacks arm strength.

None of the remaining five would remotely sniff a starter’s job in 2023. In fact, from Thompson-Robinson, Haener, Hall, McKee, to Tune, each would be close to a lock for QB3 duty and practice squad assignments.

The keyword is developmental. And from the fivesome, Thompson-Robinson would arguably energize fans because of his unique contrast to Cousins’ skillset. He’s closer to diet-diet Lamar Jackson than anything related to Cousins.

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Ultimately, the team will likely take a flyer on somebody if only to have a lottery ticket for life-after-Cousins in hand. For context, we’re in Kellen Mond territory in this draft for “the next guy” at quarterback — below it, too. Mond was a 3rd-Rounder.

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).

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