Questions Answered: The Drake Maye Slide, Mel Kiper’s Pick, Sam Darnold

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The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by VikingsTerritory. Today is the April 10th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Questions Answered: The Drake Maye Slide, Mel Kiper’s Pick, Sam Darnold

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

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Q: Have seen mock drafts where Drake Maye slides to number five. Do you think that’s realistic?

Vikings Mock Draft
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Answer: No.

We’d love it, rest assured. But Maye tumbling is probably just a rung on the draft-lead-up ladder — almost like Will Levis’ wild ride in 2023. Folks don’t want to publish the same thing — identical mock drafts — over and over, so Maye falling beyond pick No. 3 is the flavor of the week.

Not for nothing: Maye falling to the Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Chargers’ spot would be magnificent for the Vikings and their draft capital piggybank. But we’re not buying it. It’s honestly more of a “threat” that Maye goes to the Washington Commanders at pick No. 2 than sliding out of the Top 3.

Q: Would you be happy with Mel Kiper’s mock draft of J.J. McCarthy to the Vikings?

Mock Draft
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Answer: Unquestionably.

With Kevin O’Connell’s tutelage, plus weaponry like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Aaron Jones, McCarthy and his win-at-all-times persona will blast off. This website and author aren’t shy about an affinity for Drake Maye, but there would be no disappointment in McCarthy to the Vikings.

Of course, if the previous regime were in charge of the Vikings, some anxiety might linger. Not with O’Connell, though. In terms of attitude and personality, McCarthy and O’Connell are essentially clones.

Q: Keep hearing that Sam Darnold feels like a lock to start in September. That can’t right be right, can it?

Drake Maye
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

A: It probably is right.

Darnold will be paid $10 million this season. Both quarterbacks popularly associated with Minnesota in this draft — Maye and McCarthy — haven’t turned 22 yet. They’ll need time to marinate, and Darnold is a decent candidate to hold down the fort until either is ready.

If VikingsTerritory writers coached the Vikings, we’d let the rookie start Week 1 no matter what and let the man begin his on-the-job training. But we’re writers, not decision-makers.

There’s also the theory that Darnold could flourish in Minnesota, like Baker Mayfield in Tampa Bay last year. Believe it or not, that hypothesis isn’t that crazy. It could happen.

Vikings fans should expect Darnold to take the first offensive snap of 2024.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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