One Vikings Draft Darling Could Slide Down the Board

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O'Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

Are you one of the guys or gals who dreams about North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye ending up with the Minnesota Vikings?

Fasten your seatbelt if so.

One Vikings Draft Darling Could Slide Down the Board

It’s only February — the 2024 NFL Draft is 11 weeks away — but a junior slide for Maye could be in the works. More insight will be learned at the NFL Combine in three weeks, but some are already chirping that Maye could tumble. And for QB-hungry Vikings fans, the news is glorious.

Darling Could Slide
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports.

The Draft Network‘s Justin Melo wrote Monday, “North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye is an elite prospect who’s expected to be drafted within the first three picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. So color me surprised when NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein proclaimed that Maye could slide down the board on Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks’ Move the Sticks podcast, according to an NFL evaluator. Zierlien is reporting information he heard from an NFL source.”

For the last couple of months, Maye has been forecasted to end up with the Washington Commanders at pick No. 2 or the New England Patriots at No. 3.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

“Said evaluator allegedly compared Maye’s potential fall to Will Levis, another once-perceived first-round quarterback who slid to the second round. It’s officially smokescreen season. Zierlein did the right thing by reporting information relayed to him, but I’d ultimately be stunned if it came to fruition,” Melo added.

Maye has excited Vikings fans because of his incredible arm and Josh Allen-like mobility. He has everything, on paper, to crave in a franchise quarterback: Size, youth, and toolkit.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

In the Zierlein mock draft, Maye fell all the way to No. 5, where the Atlanta Falcons evidently conducted a theoretical trade with the Los Angeles Chargers. Zierlein explained Maye-to-Falcons, “New head coach Raheem Morris has plenty of offensive weapons, but he needs someone to run the show. Maye was inconsistent last season, but he has fantastic traits and high upside, so Atlanta makes a move for the QB.”

Others, like PurplePTSD‘s Josh Frey, have backhandedly predicted that Maye could surpass Caleb Williams for the 1st overall pick.

Subtract Any
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

One way or another, the Vikings will likely need a quarterback from Round 1 of April’s draft. Free-agent-to-be passer Kirk Cousins is recovering from a torn Achilles and will turn 36 this summer. Minnesota could still re-sign Cousins if his representation and the Vikings’ front office meet in the middle on a contract, but even so, Minnesota is overdue to identify and select an heir apparent.

And if Zierlein is right or close to right, Minnesota could be in the mix for Drake Maye, which Vikings fans would nearly universally accept.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by