One Mock Draft Throws Curveball at Vikings

Dustin Baker's 1st-Round Draft Prediction for Vikings
NFL Draft

Most Minnesota Vikings fans are immersed in a perceived choice regarding a rookie quarterback: North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

One Mock Draft Throws Curveball at Vikings

With a side dish of Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), oddsmakers believe Maye or McCarthy will end up in Minnesota, so the Maye-or-McCarthy question is somewhat valid.

mock draft
Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports.

But don’t forget about LSU’s Jayden Daniels, says Pro Football Network. Daniels has been considered a shoo-in to the Washington Commanders at Pick No. 2 for a month or so, but PFN dialed the theory back late last week.

Sending Caleb Williams to Chicago, Drake Maye to Washington, and J.J. McCarthy to New England, PFN’s Dallas Robinson settled on Daniels to Minnesota, an idea that could be classified as far-fetched by some but not mind-boggling on the whole.

Clue for Jayden
Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports.

“Having already acquired pick No. 23 from the Houston Texans, the Vikings strike again, moving up to No. 4 to land a franchise quarterback. While the Cardinals don’t necessarily want to move out of prime position, Minnesota paid a premium to move up. The Vikings will pay a QB tax of nearly 70% in this deal, according to Over the Cap’s draft trade value chart,” Robinson explained.

The price of the trade with Arizona per Robinson? The Vikings’ two 1st-Rounders (Nos. 11 and 23) this year and a 3rd-Round pick in 2025.

from Vikings End
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.

Robinson added, “Jayden Daniels allows Minnesota to reset its quarterback contract clock after watching Kirk Cousins sign with the Atlanta Falcons. With weapons like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson, a solid offensive line, and a QB-friendly scheme, the Vikings have all the pieces in place to help Daniels thrive in Year 1.”

Editor Josh Frey of VikingsTerritory’s sister site, PurplePTSDwrote about Daniels in December, “Daniels possesses a rocket of an arm which allows him to spread the ball across all three levels of the field, and he throws accurately as well. His average depth of target was 10.5 yards this season, ranking 17th among 86 QBs in college football with at least 300 drop backs, per PFF.”

New Fox Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota has drafted four players from LSU in the last four drafts:

  • WR Justin Jefferson (2020)
  • RG Ed Ingram (2022)
  • DL Jaquelin Roy (2023)
  • S Jay Ward (2023)

The only real weakness for Daniels is his frame. He’s 6’4″ and 210 pounds. Daniels ran the football 11 times per game at LSU last season, and some cynics wonder if he can absorb NFL hits at “only” 210 pounds.

Sportsbooks place the odds of Daniels joining the Vikings around +1200 — a generalized longshot.

The NFL draft is 24 days away.

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