Vikings HC Highlights Preferred Skill Set of His Next QB

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The Minnesota Vikings are in the market for a new franchise quarterback, especially since six-year starter Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons. A QB carousel in 2023 underlined the necessity of finding the next passer, and the regime Kevin O’Connell/Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will undoubtedly attempt to acquire their guy on April 25 in the first round of this year’s draft.

Vikings HC Highlights Preferred Skill Set of His Next QB

Vikings HC Highlights Preferred Skill Set of His Next QB
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With USC’s Caleb Williams universally expected to be Chicago’s first overall pick, Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (North Carolina), and J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) are next in line. However, the theories about their order are seemingly endless.

Who would be the best fit in O’Connell’s pass-heavy offense if all three were on the board? The head coach obviously didn’t directly answer that question, but he expressed his style preferences and the qualities a young passer should possess.

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Good quarterback play is much more nuanced than it once was. Playing within the structure and creating on their own are necessary skills; the added rushing ability is a helpful tool. The arms must provide accurate and strong throws at all angles and distances.

Patrick Mahomes can do all of those things at an elite level. Cousins, for example, is exceptional at executing a play like it is drawn up, but he can’t create when it’s breaking down because the receivers aren’t open or the offensive line isn’t holding up. Some players are great at creating but poor at doing what they are supposed to. Joshua Dobbs comes to mind.

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For O’Connell, a good mix is important, but the Kirk-DNA should be the baseline.

Impactful quarterbacks continue to be the ones who play on rhythm and schedule, but also allow their ability to change the game from a standpoint of making plays that maybe other people can’t. … If you’re going to try to feature your quarterback as a major aspect in the running game, you better be sure about what you’re signing up for. Because it’s an incredibly physical game.

Kevin O’Connell

He doesn’t intend to have a quarterback as a major part of the running game. Drafting Daniels without giving him a chance to showcase his absurd rushing skills, which helped him generate more than 1,200 rushing yards in his Heisman-winning 2023 campaign, would be a waste.

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McCarthy and Maye check all of those boxes, too. They can function in structure, but their ability to buy time via scramble and throw on the run helps them to be effective regardless of pressure and receivers.

Whenever the Vikings’ head coach is talking about his ideal quarterback prospect, accuracy plays a big role. Daniels isn’t quite as consistent as the other guys, but his wow plays are much more impressive, fitting the description of “making plays that maybe other people can’t.”

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At the end of the day, all three are intriguing players who can steer O’Connell’s Vikings offense. It might come down to personal preference rather than talent level. Daniels has the best rushing ability in the group and is an outstanding downfield thrower. McCarthy is a poised passer with natural leadership skills, underrated athleticism, and arm strength. Meanwhile, Maye possesses the prototypical QB size with a strong arm and is effective with his legs. However, he isn’t as refined mechanically, but he has enormous upside because of his physical tools.

General manager Adofo-Mensah mentioned a profile similar to his head coach in February, so the two seem to agree.

The good news is that all three of them could flourish in Minnesota. Throwing the ball to a great receiving crew, highlighted by Justin Jefferson, is just as helpful as having a pair of former NFL QBs on the coaching staff.

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