Sporting News Latest Mock Draft Says QB for Vikings

Vikings Must Avoid Common Draft Mistake
NFL Draft

Over the last week, high-profile mock drafts have settled one common theme for the Minnesota Vikings and their 11th overall pick in April — defense.

Sporting News Latest Mock Draft Says QB for Vikings

Some outfits say defensive tackle for Minnesota; others recommend an EDGE rusher. A few even recommend a corner, like Clemson’s Nate Wiggins, for the purple team.

But Sporting News returned the mock draft process to an original theory — quarterback. And for SN’s Vinnie Iyer, that was Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. staying in purple clothing.

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To date, Penix Jr. is the “compromise” quarterback fit for Minnesota in mock drafts. That is, he’ll likely be available at the No. 11 pick, so Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah need not trade the farm to move up the draftboard for Drake Maye (North Carolina) or Jayden Daniels (LSU), for example. In theory, the Vikings could also trade up to No. 1 for Caleb Williams (USC), but most believe the Chicago Bears, the team that owns the pick, won’t barter with an intradivision rival.

Iyer wrote about Penix Jr. to Vikings, “The Vikings can move on from Kirk Cousins and they learned quickly that neither Josh Dobbs nor Nick Mullens nor Jaren Hall could be any kind of real answer beyond short-term injury fill-in.”

January 10th, 2024. Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center concluding the 2023 NFL regular season. Minnesota finished 7-10 in 2023 and missed the postseason.

He also mock-drafted Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State) to Chicago with the first overall pick, which would be a bit strange.

“The Kevin O’Connell Rams-like system calls for more of a strong pocket passer first, and the downfield arm and accuracy of Penix should be welcome to get for Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison,” Iyer added.

In his mock, Caleb Williams landed with the Washington Commanders at No. 2, Drake Maye to the New England Patriots at No. 3, and Jayden Daniels at No. 8 to the Atlanta Falcons.

Penix Jr. enchanted the masses during the College Football Championship semifinal, helping the Huskies defeat the Texas Longhorns four weeks ago. Washington prevailed 37-31, as Penix Jr. delivered 461 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. His draft stock climbed, and many believe he’d fit beautifully inside the Vikings’ 2024 offense.

Then, his Huskies lost the following week in the championship while Penix Jr. didn’t look too effective, permitting his draft stock to remain outside the Top 10. In all likelihood, as of January 24th, the rookie should be gettable for the Vikings with the 11th overall pick — no trades up the board required.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Penix Jr. is universally praised as a 1st-Round quarterback for April, with the only real knock on his resume as injury history. He’s played two healthy seasons consecutively, but before that, the injury list was expansive. In 2018, he tore his ACL. A year later, his season was cut short by a sternoclavicular joint ailment. Then in 2020, he tore the other ACL. And in 2021, an AC joint injury ended his campaign.

Optimists will maintain that the last two seasons are a reasonable indicator that Penix Jr. is “good to go” in the NFL. All the injuries be damned. Some NFL team will convince itself that he is the way, and then we shall see if the injuries arrive akin to 2018 through 2021.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Network described Penix Jr. as a “rocket-armed left-handed thrower with elite drive velocity and high-end arm elasticity” and a “high-IQ passer who gathers information pre-snap and processes the field without delay.”

The man has two overall concerns attached to his draft profile: a) Lengthy injury history b) He’ll be 24 when the 2024 season rolls around.

More clarity should arrive regarding the Vikings’ draft plan in the next seven weeks when a free-agent decision on Cousins is reached.

The NFL draft is 92 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 OverTheCap.com.

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