Rising Vikings Defender Is a Fan of a Particular QB Prospect

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It is the major question in the Vikings’ universe: Who will be the starting QB in 2024? General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah currently has Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall under contract but could re-sign veteran Kirk Cousins or select his successor and hopefully a franchise signal-caller in April’s draft. He is holding the 11th overall pick, perhaps out of reach of the top prospects.

Rising Vikings Defender Is a Fan of a Particular QB Prospect

Rising Vikings Defender Is a Fan of a Particular QB Prospect
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Caleb Williams (USC) is the presumed first overall pick, with Drake Maye (UNC) and Jayden Daniels (LSU) also generating some buzz. They are followed by Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, who the betting odds like as the future Vikings passer. A few others, like Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix (Oregon), are viewed as potential first-rounders.

The first three are unlikely to be available when the Vikings are on the clock, but trading up for one of them has been a popular idea among draft analysts and Skol Nation. Adofo-Mensah reportedly tried the same thing last offseason, but it is surely easier to move up with the 11th overall pick than last year when he held the 23rd.

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Not only do front offices and scouting departments watch the prospects closely, but so do some NFL players. Safety Josh Metellus, a rising star in Minnesota’s defense, stated his opinion of North Carolina’s Maye on X: “Drake Maye is slowly but surely closing that gap on QB1, the more tape I watch the better. (I’m entitled to speculate like any other football lover!)”

He, indeed, is allowed to voice his opinion, and his football IQ has been well documented. In July, star safety Harrison Smith praised his teammate’s football knowledge: “He loves the game. He could sit up there and run a meeting as a coach right now. He’s got it that well. I learn a lot from him. He knows more, a lot of times, than I do – so I’m trying to learn stuff from him, too.”

Maye’s buzz is more than just an idea of those who try to generate clicks by trying to be different. He’s a pretty good football player with plenty of traits to like.

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North Carolina’s star was a two-year starter in the ACC (as well as some backup duties in 2021), posting career numbers of 8,018 passing yards, 63 passing scores, and 16 interceptions. He’s also a rushing threat, as his 1,209 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns underline.

Bleacher Report’s scouting department wrote about the 21-year-old: “Drake Maye is the prototypical quarterback prospect. Size, speed, arm strength; he’s got all the tools you look for in a franchise quarterback.”

He undoubtedly has outstanding tools. His arm strength allows him to throw darts into tight windows from all platforms. High-end passes are all over his tape — perhaps the reason why Metellus is intrigued. There is no throw he can’t make. Extending plays and making throws out of scrambles will also attract coaches.

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In addition, Maye possesses excellent athleticism and the size to be a dangerous dual-threat in the NFL. Considering his frame and speed, the comparison to Josh Allen’s running ability is reasonable.

Now, there are some negatives. He doesn’t always recognize safety motions after the snap, resulting in some horrendous interceptions, and his sloppy footwork leads to inconsistencies in throwing the ball.

It wouldn’t be shocking if Maye turns into a great quarterback in his professional career, although he must improve some things. Pairing him with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson, as well as giving him a head coach who played the position before and can build the offense around his strengths, would be compelling, but the price to get him is steep.

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