Drake Maye to Vikings Is Suddenly Feasible

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The upcoming weeks will be crucial for the Vikings, who are set to lose Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, two of their brightest stars, in free agency. Replacing them (or bringing them back) must be the priority for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who has some cap space to operate for the first time since joining the Vikings in 2022.

Drake Maye to Vikings Is Suddenly Feasible

Drake Maye to Vikings Is Suddenly Feasible
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Hunter could be replaced in free agency. Although the available players aren’t quite as productive and disruptive as the four-time Pro Bowler, some solid pass-rushers are on the market. A guy like Bryce Huff from the Jets or Andrew Van Ginkel, a former Dolphins defender who knows DC Brian Flores well, could help fill the void.

Quarterback is a different story. Signing a player like Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, or Sam Darnold can’t be a long-term solution; they are, at best, a stopgap player for a few weeks or a year. That’s why Adofo-Mensah should use the draft to acquire the next franchise quarterback, something the club needs to stay relevant.

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A problem the Vikings have encountered, at least in theory, is that the first three teams in the draft need a quarterback, so there’s no chance to find a trade partner, and settling for QB4 isn’t as intriguing as getting one of the consensus top three of Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), or Jayden Daniels (LSU).

A plot twist was reported on Thursday by Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline, who thinks the Patriots could pass on UNC’s Maye if Williams and Daniels are off the board.

The big news coming out of Indianapolis is the way teams are hot and cold on quarterback Drake Maye, who was expected to be a top-three pick. I was told at the combine that the New England Patriots would trade back if Jayden Daniels did not drop to their slot, the third pick of the draft. Just today, I heard further that several scouts from the Patriots organization are not fans of Maye, who really struggled down the stretch of the season. The fact that several people mentioned in conversation, not all, are sold on Maye makes this significant.

Tony Pauline

If the Patriots wanted to trade down, bada bing, the Vikings could pay the costly price to secure the 21-year-old.

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The report should be taken with a grain of salt as smokescreens are common leading up to the draft. Teams or agents leak things that benefit their agenda one way or another. However, Daniels does indeed fit what Washington’s offensive coordinator, Kliff Kingsbury, is expected to do scheme-wise, and voices have begun to elevate him over Maye. It is reasonable to see Maye be the odd man out when Washington chooses second overall.

If Pauline is correct and it wasn’t just a baseless claim, the Vikings can acquire the passer. It would cost Adofo-Mensah multiple draft choices in the next couple of seasons, perhaps a couple of first-rounders and second-rounders each.

In case Minnesota’s decision-makers view Maye as a franchise-changing prospect, that steep cost shouldn’t keep them from making a splash move and going all-in.

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Maye has thrown for almost 8,000 yards in the last two seasons and found the endzone 62 times through the air and 16 times on the ground. He has a prototypical QB size of over 6’4″ and 223 lbs, and he possesses a strong arm and the mobility to be a running threat.

Some mechanical footwork issues must be cleaned up to unlock a higher level of consistency. The Vikings employ a pair of former NFL quarterbacks on their coaching staff (head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterbacks Josh McCown), who will help him in that area. Also helpful will be the supporting cast, as throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson and standing behind a solid offense line will be beneficial for any signal-caller.

It remains to be seen if the rumor is more than that, but it is at least one way the Vikings could end up with one of the top quarterback prospects 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