Vikings Apparently Met With Most Exciting Draft Prospect

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half against LSU at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, October 15, 2022. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

March and April are the two months when everyone gets to know the players in the upcoming draft. Teams meet with players, and pieces of information are leaked, including a lot of false information. During the NFL combine, the prospects are in the big spotlight for the first time after their college career. The players are having workouts and, even more important, meetings with teams.

The purple team is scheduled to select its first player with the 23rd overall pick on April 27. Many players will be connected to the team in the next eight weeks.

Vikings Apparently Met With Most Exciting Draft Prospect

Vikings Apparently Met With Most Exciting Draft Prospect
Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) warms up before the game against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sunday, October 2, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun. USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to Darren Wolfson, who reported the news on SkorNorth, the Vikings met with quarterback prospect Anthony Richardson. The Flordia Gator has been the biggest name in draft circles in recent weeks. Folks are intrigued by his fantastic athleticism.

Richardson was only a one-year starter for the Gators and his inexperience shows on tape. He only attempted 393 passes in college. For comparison, the last Vikings’ passer selected in the draft, Kellen Mond, attempted 1,358 passes in college.

Nevertheless, Richardson is an outstanding athlete, and not just for a quarterback. He has the body of a linebacker or an edge rusher and that translates to the field. Richardson rushed for 654 yards and nine touchdowns in the 2022 campaign. He has the speed to run around people and the power to run over them.

9. Carolina Panthers — Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida Syndication Ocala Starbanner

Dov Kleinman reported that one executive thinks that Richardson is “Cam Newton and Justin Fields combined.” And the prospect has the necessary highlights to back it up.

Those two QBs are two of the best athletes in the league, and possibly the best athletes at their position. Their weakness is the passing game, especially accuracy has been a struggle for them at times. Richardson is similar in that regard. He only completed 54.7% of his 393 passes in college for 3,105 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. In his final season, he improved his ball security and only threw nine picks and 17 scores.

Folks who watched his tape see outstanding arm strength and mobility, but bad accuracy. He missed receivers all over the place but he is still only 21 years old and has time to develop in that capacity. Debates on if his inaccuracy is the result of a lack of ability or just inexperience are ongoing.

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) has word with Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier in the first half. Florida hosted the South Carolina Gamecocks in the last home game of the season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, November 12, 2022. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun] Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Richardson seems to be a riser on draft boards. A few months ago, he was viewed as a player who is available late in the first round but if the latest buzz is true, the Vikings had to trade up to get him.

Of course, the Vikings still employ Kirk Cousins as their quarterback, which makes the Vikings a great place for the start of his NFL career. He could sit behind the veteran and learn from him without the pressure to step on the field anytime soon. That will be beneficial to his development. Cousins is great at the things Richardson struggles with, so a mentorship would be perfect if Cousins is willing to fill the role of the mentor.

The ESPN Recommendation
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings must make the decision in the next few weeks if they want to keep Cousins in town for more years. An extension is just as possible as not changing anything about his deal and letting him play out the final year of his contract. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah recently talked about Cousins. According to him, Cousins is good enough to win big in the league but his age and skillset play a role in his thoughts.

Meetings at the combine can mean a lot but they can also mean absolutely nothing. Last season, the Vikings met with the top QB prospects and ended up drafting none of them, despite seeing most of them fall into the third round.

Richardson has the upside of an elite quarterback but likely needs a lot of time to get there. Nevertheless, he is the most exciting selection the Vikings could make.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt