Vikings Draft Advice from ESPN Is Pretty Simple

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft is always unpredictable, but when league commissioner Roger Goodell opens the three-day event on April 25, the Minnesota Vikings will be one of the teams to watch. Following the exit of four-time Pro Bowler Kirk Cousins, the organization needs a new franchise passer, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has the ammo to make a splash.

Vikings Draft Advice from ESPN Is Pretty Simple

Vikings Draft Advise From ESPN Is Pretty Simple
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah acquired a second selection in this year’s first round when everyone was busy with free agency. The Houston Texans reportedly offered the deal, but now the Vikings hold picks 11 and 23 in the top round. Package those two slots with next year’s first-rounder, and anyone will find it hard to turn down that offer. This puts all picks within reach outside of Chicago’s top selection, presumably used for USC’s Caleb Williams.

Behind him, teams virtually try to correctly rank LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. The rumors about teams preferring one over another are available; the question is, how believable are they?

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

Because the top three teams in the draft order (Chicago, Washington, New England) all need quarterbacks, with the New York Giants lurking at pick six and both Denver and Las Vegas threatening to trade up, the Vikings must enter the top five to be sure to get one of the four previously mentioned signal-callers. According to Bill Barnwell from ESPN, that’s exactly what they should do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings have some semblance of a trade up the board already in place. It’s the only thing that makes sense after they acquired the No. 23 pick from the Texans without then immediately packaging that selection in a second deal to move into the top six. That deal might be dependent upon a scenario in which a player is (or is not) available. As an example, the Vikings might have a deal in place with the Chargers where they’ll move up to No. 5, as long as McCarthy is still available and Harrison is off the board. They might have tentative agreements with more than one team.

While the Saints added an extra first-round pick in 2022 and then didn’t use that selection to draft a quarterback, it still seems fair to look at the Minnesota roster and expect it to be in the market for a passer in this draft. I’ll get to an alternate scenario for the Vikings at No. 23, but for now, let’s plug them in as sending Nos. 11 and 23 to get as far up the board as possible.

Bill Barnwell, ESPN

His unlikely alternate scenario, in which McCarthy surprisingly falls to the Vikings at pick 11, would conclude with a potential trade-down from pick 23.

purple rumor mill
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Regardless, the Vikings are widely expected to select earlier than currently scheduled on April 25. Trading up into the top ten for a passer would be a first, as the franchise has never drafted a quarterback with one of the first ten picks of a draft. This shocking fact could explain some of the team’s decade-long struggles to replace 1961 third-rounder Fran Tarkenton.

Minnesota’s brass is rumored to be interested in Maye or McCarthy. Daniels is currently favored to go second overall to Washington. Depending on whether the Vikings can snatch the third choice from New England and which quarterback they prefer, the purple team will either choose between the two or be stuck with the remaining passer, which would not be a bad situation.

Rumors Hit Boiling
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are looking for a new franchise quarterback in a draft with some excellent talent at the top of the QB class. While the Vikes were interested in keeping Cousins around, they accidentally hit the perfect timing to replace him by drafting his successor.

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