1 Vikings QB Theory Is Dead

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are awaiting Kirk Cousins’ free agency decision. Does he return for a seventh campaign in purple or enter the free agent pool and join a different club? The Atlanta Falcons have been linked to the veteran passer in recent weeks. If he indeed leaves, who will be the starter in Minnesota, as only Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall are under contract?

1 Vikings QB Theory Is Dead

There are dozens of ideas for Minnesota’s potentially vacant bridge QB spot. Some folks think Sam Darnold could do the job for a year; others desire Russell Wilson and hope to restore his magic. Justin Fields is available, but trading a QB to a division rival is tricky, and the annual Trey Lance talker has made a return.

1 Vikings QB Theory Is Dead
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports.

One thing we do know is that it won’t be Mac Jones, formerly of the New England Patriots. After he was benched for Bailey Zappe in his third NFL season, the new regime traded him to Jacksonville for a sixth-rounder selection.

Jones would’ve been an underwhelming starting quarterback for the Vikings, as he didn’t look like a starting-caliber player in the last two seasons. However, his surroundings in New England were poor, and he didn’t have a good supporting cast on and off the field. The coaching staff clearly lacked some expertise to help the former first-rounder flourish.

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

So why would the Vikes try to acquire him? His rookie season and college career were promising, which elevated him into the first round. Jones showed good decision-making and the ability to read defenses at a high level, but this has diminished in the last two seasons.

The Vikings need someone who could potentially start until a rookie develops enough to take the reins or for the full year if the franchise misses out on a quarterback in April’s draft, but it is good news that Jones isn’t that person.

Getting the quarterback position right is likely the most important task in the franchise’s orbit, perhaps even more influential than getting a deal done with Justin Jefferson.

Rumors Hit Boiling
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

However, all the available players are subpar options and, although cheaper, would be a considerable downgrade compared to the level of play four-time Pro Bowler Cousins provided over the years. Replacing him can only be done in the draft; identifying the right prospect is essential.

That rookie would enter a perfect situation for his development, as the Vikings employ a pair of former NFL quarterbacks on the coaching staff. Head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterback coach Josh McCown could help the passer improve his mechanics.

Also remarkable is the number of weapons in the locker room, as Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson surely form one of the best receiving groups in the NFL.

Mock Draft Reveals Splashy
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah holds the 11th overall pick; too late to get his hands on one of the elite passers in the draft early enough to facilitate a trade to secure one of them.

Cousins’ decision will be the first domino to fall. His future will lay the groundwork for whether the Vikings actually need a bridge quarterback and how aggressive they need to be in the draft.

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