Draft Analyst Has Vikings Waiting on QB

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With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror, another round of analysis can be performed on the top NFL draft prospects. While Minnesota is expected to grab a quarterback at some point, ESPN’s Matt Miller sees them waiting out the board just a bit.

Draft Analyst Has Vikings Waiting on QB

There have been predictions all over the place when it comes to what the Minnesota Vikings will do in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Everything from trading up to the first overall pick to dropping back later in the round has been examined. Plenty of mock drafts have focused on the Vikings grabbing a quarterback within the first round of picks, but sitting out of that pool until round two has largely gone overlooked.

Draft Analyst
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While the Vikings have holes in other areas of the roster, they must get the quarterback position right. Regardless of whether or not Kirk Cousins agrees to come back on a short-term extension, a signal caller for the future must be found. In Matt Miller’s two-round mock following the senior bowl, he sees Minnesota getting a quarterback in the second round, and no picks would need to be moved in order for them to do so.

Drafting Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., the Vikings would grab a tested college arm that flashed during the College Football Playoff. While he had a much better game against Texas than he did against Michigan, there is still plenty to like here. Miller breaks down the fit for Penix in Minnesota well.

“Penix’s draft stock varies depending on who you ask, but the most consistent answer I’ve heard is the second round, given the four season-ending injuries he suffered at Indiana (two knee injuries, two shoulder injuries). Penix has excellent arm strength and velocity, and as a pure passer, he’s a first-rounder. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards in 2023 and helped lead Washington to the national title game. But those injury and durability questions push him to the Vikings.

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It’s great news for Minnesota, where Kirk Cousins is set to become a 35-year-old free agent coming off an Achilles injury. Penix can be the quarterback-in-waiting if Cousins is re-signed or the immediate starter if he is not.”

Outside of the top three, which include Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, a quarterback like Penix finds himself lumped in the group with J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix. Where that contingent is taken remains to be seen, but evaluators seem all over the place when trying to nail down their ultimate pick location.

In grabbing Penix in round two, Minnesota could focus on defense during the first round. Uncertainty at the edge rusher position is there, and if the Vikings don’t re-sign Danielle Hunter, they will have a massive hole in bringing down the opposing quarterback. Miller handles that by giving the Vikings Alabama’s Dallas Turner.

“The Vikings are at a crossroads with quarterback Kirk Cousins hitting free agency at 36 years old and coming off an Achilles tear suffered in Week 8. Could they pull the trigger on Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oregon’s Bo Nix, or Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.? Yes, but there are needs across the board. Danielle Hunter is a free agent, and Turner would perfectly fit D-coordinator Brian Flores’ defensive wish list at edge rusher.

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Turner had 10 sacks in his breakout 2023 season, and one NFC area scout thinks his ceiling is higher than former college teammate Will Anderson Jr., who went No. 3 in last year’s draft. Turner has excellent speed in space with a pro player comparison to the Jaguars’ Josh Allen. He’s my top-ranked defender in the class and would be a steal this late in the night.”

Being able to address multiple significant needs early on would be a great plan of attack for the Vikings, and this is a draft that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah absolutely has to get right. A widespread approach will be necessary if Minnesota wants to accelerate its competitive rebuild.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.