Names the 2 Best Rookies for Vikings

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Most Minnesota Vikings want nothing to do with Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, but’s Chad Forbes disagrees. Names the 2 Best Rookies for Vikings

With the NFL Draft 10 days away, Forbes identified two ideal rookies for each NFL team late last week, and for Minnesota, Nix was the selection with the No. 11 pick and UCLA EDGE rusher Laiatu Latu at No. 23.

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Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah executed an unforeseen trade on March 15th, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. The move positioned Minnesota to trade up the board a second time — probably on draft night — and choose a rookie signal-caller to replace Kirk Cousins, who vamoosed on March 13th for the Atlanta Falcons in free agency.

Per Forbes, Nix should take the reins. “Nix doesn’t possess elite physical attributes — though they are very similar to former Vikings starter Kirk Cousins’ — but the demand for quarterbacks, combined with Nix’s experience and competitive nature, could cause the Vikings to secure him at No. 11 instead of waiting for their second Thursday night selection 12 picks later,” Forbes opined.

Why are fans low on Nix? The knock is pretty straightforward: arm strength. He does not boast the quality to a degree of other elite prospects, like Drake Maye, for example. The anti-Nix sentiment also invokes the “reach” mentality from years past. For example, the Vikings needed a quarterback in 2011 and drafted Christian Ponder, and some believe Nix could become a repeat of that situation. So, if Forbes get his way, Minnesota would reach — again.

PFF Has The Same
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix celebrates after running for a touchdown as the Oregon Ducks host Colorado in the Pac-12 opener Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. © Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK.

On Latu, a much more promising prospect, Forbes explained, “Latu suffered a serious neck injury early in his college career but led the FBS with 21.5 tackles for loss (and tied for fourth with 13 sacks) last season, flashing the quickness and heavy hands to beat tackles outside. He would be a nice add late in the first for Brian Flores’ revamped edge rushing corps.”

The Vikings met with Latu last week via Top 30 visit. He could realistically join the purple roster in 10 days, especially if Adofo-Mensah finds a way to hang onto his 23rd pick. Most expect that pick to be traded in the deal for a quarterback.

Josh Frey of PurplePTSD, a sister site to VikingsTerritorywrote about Latu last week, “Latu does come with some risk. Just a couple years ago, he was forced to medically retire from football because of a neck injury while he was with the Washington Huskies. He sat out of the 2021 season, and it seemed like his football career was over. However, prior to the 2022 season, Latu decided to transfer to UCLA, and he was back on the field for the Bruins that fall. In two seasons at UCLA, he piled up a ridiculous 34 tackles for loss along with 23.5 sacks over the course of 25 games.”

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Minnesota replaced Danielle Hunter this offseason — he joined his hometown Houston Texans — with Jonathan Greenard (from those same Texans) and Andrew Van Ginkel (Miami Dolphins). It also signed depth EDGE defender Jihad Ward, formerly of the New York Giants. Latu, though, would prepare Minnesota’s defense for the future.

The Vikings haven’t drafted an EDGE rusher in Rounds 1 or 2 since 2005. And Teddy Bridgewater was the last Round 1 or 2 quarterback chosen by Minnesota. Yes, 10 years ago.

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Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is the odds-on favorite to land with Minnesota in the draft.

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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