New Mock Draft — Familiar Name for Vikings

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In 98 days, the Minnesota Vikings will step up to the podium with the 11th overall pick and choose a rookie in general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s third draft.

Vikings fans have debated — and will continue to do so until late April — the proper roster need for the pick, with most settling on either quarterback or defensive lineman.

New Mock Draft — Familiar Name for Vikings

Fair choices, many NFL mock drafts agree with the quarterback part, and Sporting News was no different this week. SN’s Vinnie Iyer chose Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. for Minnesota in his latest mock draft, a somewhat common theme so far in the draft lead-up cycle.

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Iyer wrote, “The Vikings can move on from Kirk Cousins and they learned quickly that neither Josh Dobbs nor Nick Mullens nor Jaren Hall could be any kind of real answer beyond short-term injury fill-in.”

The Vikings have an almighty decision on Cousins in the next eight weeks: Let the man walk to open free agency or re-sign him for a year or two after recovering from a torn Achilles.

“The Kevin O’Connell Rams-like system calls for more of a strong pocket passer first, and the downfield arm and accuracy of Penix should be welcome to get for Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison,” Iyer added.

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Penix Jr. enchanted the masses during the College Football Championship semifinal, helping the Huskies defeat the Texas Longhorns three weeks ago. Washington prevailed 37-31, as Penix Jr. delivered 461 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. His draft stock climbed, and many believe he’d fit beautifully inside the Vikings’ 2024 offense.

Then, his Huskies lost the following week in the championship while Penix Jr. didn’t look too effective, permitting his draft stock to remain outside the Top 10. In all likelihood, as of January 18th, the rookie should be gettable for the Vikings with the 11th overall pick — no trades up the board required.

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Penix Jr. is universally praised as a 1st-Round quarterback for April, with the only real knock on his resume as injury history. He’s played two healthy seasons consecutively, but before that, the injury list was expansive. In 2018, he tore his ACL. A year later, his season was cut short by a sternoclavicular joint ailment. Then in 2020, he tore the other ACL. And in 2021, an AC joint injury ended his campaign.

Optimists will maintain that the last two seasons are a reasonable indicator that Penix Jr. is “good to go” in the NFL. All the injuries be damned. Some NFL team will convince itself that he is the way, and then we shall see if the injuries arrive akin to 2018 through 2021.

Pro Football Network described Penix Jr. as a “rocket-armed left-handed thrower with elite drive velocity and high-end arm elasticity” and a “high-IQ passer who gathers information pre-snap and processes the field without delay.”

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The man has two broad concerns attached to his draft profile: a) Lengthy injury history b) He’ll be 24 when the 2024 season rolls around.

Interestingly, Iyer mock-drafted Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. to the Bears, not a quarterback. Caleb Williams was connected to the Washington Commanders with the second pick.

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).

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