Perfect Draft Prospect for Vikings Has Been Named

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The draft season will be an exciting time in the Vikings’ universe as the organization has reached a crossroads with Kirk Cousins entering free agency, barring a contract extension. The new franchise quarterback could join the purple team in April when the draft takes place in Detroit. The Vikes could make a late-season push into the top-ten picks with a loss on Sunday.

Perfect Draft Prospect for Vikings Has Been Named

Perfect Draft Prospect for Vikings Has Been Named
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That would put the Vikings in reach of some intriguing QB prospects and perhaps even in a position to trade up for the most compelling players. Minnesota has not drafted a quarterback in the first round since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014, and he followed Christian Ponder. The organization is due to hit on a franchise QB.

With Cousins’ potential departure and his return from a torn Achilles tendon at age 35 (36 in Week 1 of the upcoming season), general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell should plan for the time post-Cousins as they have been seeing how hard it is to squeeze wins out of backup level passers like Nick Mullens or Joshua Dobbs.

draft darling for
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PFF’s analyst Trevor Sikkema named the perfect draft prospect for every team, and his pick for the Vikings is Oregon’s quarterback Bo Nix.

The Vikings have been on the quarterback carousel since Kirk Cousins went down for the season. Cousins is set to become a free agent this offseason, so if he’s not brought back, a young quarterback becomes paramount for them. To me, Nix would be perfect with his tools, dual-threat ability and experience to work with Kevin O’Connell.

With an aging player coming off a devastating injury at the most critical position in the sport, the Vikings should indeed try to find his successor. Nix is a controversial prospect as he has more experience in college football than anyone else but is still viewed as a project to some extent.

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Coming out of high school as Alabama’s Mr. Football with over 12,000 offensive yards and 161 touchdowns, Nix committed to play his collegiate career at Auburn, where he was instantly named starting QB in his freshman year. He guided Auburn to a solid season, including a Bowl win over Alabama. Problems with new head coach Bryan Harsin ultimately led him to enter the transfer portal after three years, and he joined Oregon. In the new offense, his passing numbers improved drastically.

In two seasons at Oregon, Nix threw for 8,101 yards and 74 touchdowns to go along with 20 scores on the ground. He has a strong arm and is a big quarterback built to run over defenders. His physical attributes are exciting and could help him get drafted earlier than he perhaps should.

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.

Problems in the draft evaluation are Oregon’s offense that barely asked him to do anything special, as they run a lot of RPOs, screens, and simple concepts. Some inconsistent footwork and mechanics lead to shaky accuracy, and he is not great at finding answers when a defense takes away his first read.

O’Connell is a former NFL quarterback who might be intrigued by drafting a physical specimen who is a project with upside because he could coach him up more than more pro-ready players. However, Nix has played in 61 college games and will turn 25 in February, so it is fair to question whether or not Nix actually has that much upside.

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Other candidates could be trading up into the top draft picks for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, who are viewed as the draft’s best QBs, but that would be costly. Heisman winner Jayden Daniels or college football playoff stars J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr. could be other options.

It remains to be seen if the Vikings will be ultra-aggressive in the draft and pursue a trade or settle for the guy that is available when they pick. They could also try to upgrade the shaky defensive personnel and push the acquisition of a new quarterback another year into the future.

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