Vikings’ Horns Continue to Point at One QB Prospect

Vikings Mock Draft
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With less than four weeks to go, the NFL world enters the hot period of draft coverage. Rumors about rising or falling players appear daily. Minnesota’s agenda is obvious: The team needs a new quarterback following Kirk Cousins’s departure. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s deal to acquire the 23rd overall pick in addition to his 11th choice put him in a prime position to facilitate a trade into the top region of the draft.

Vikings’ Horns Continue to Point at One QB Prospect

Vikings Horns Continue to Point at 1 QB Prospect
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Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (North Carolina), and J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) are possible targets because nobody knows the order of the passers behind presumed first-overall pick Caleb Williams. Minnesota’s trade partner is also unknown. As always, the draft is a mystery.

However, one guy is picking up steam as Skol Nation’s next QB1. That is Drake Maye. Carmen Vitali, NFC North reporter from Fox Sports, claimed the Vikings like UNC’s signal-caller.

I fully expect them to try (to trade into the top five for a QB), if they aren’t already. From sources I’ve talked to, the Vikings, and coach Kevin O’Connell in particular, like Drake Maye, the former UNC quarterback with a high floor and tremendous pocket presence. Maye would be a shoe-in to the Shanahan offense that O’Connell runs and would be in great hands between O’Connell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, both former NFL signal-callers themselves.

Carmen Vitali

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler offered a similar report about the purple interest in Maye. It is quite noticeable that not just one but two journalists declare the same thing.

Vikings First Round
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Maye checks all the boxes. He possesses the prototypical size for a QB at 6’4″ and 223 lbs. That allows him to stand tall in the pocket before slinging the ball over linemen, and he can be used as an asset in the running game without fans and coaches having to be too scared during every hit he takes. His athleticism also helps him as a runner and scrambler.

The 21-year-old—his age is another plus—is a pocket passer in theory, but he can create on his own, scrambling around to keep plays alive. That part of the game was missed in Minnesota when Cousins was under center. That, combined with a canon of an arm and solid college production, makes him an intriguing target for the Vikings.

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In the last two seasons at North Carolina, after taking over for Sam Howell, Maye threw for almost 8,000 yards in 26 games, tabulating 62 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground boost his value even further. His production dipped in 2023, but so did the receiver play. Offensive line struggles also didn’t help.

Maye’s flaw is inconsistent footwork, which directly leads to inconsistent throwing. Coming to Minnesota to sit behind Sam Darnold until he fixes that issue would be a decent spot. The Vikings employ head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterback coach Josh McCown. Both were NFL quarterbacks and could certainly refine Maye’s mechanics.

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The prospect would be the perfect guy to feature Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson in the passing game, as he can do everything O’Connell needs his QB to do in his offense.

If Daniels is drafted second overall and the New England Patriots want to exchange their third overall pick for numerous assets, the Vikings could indeed land Maye. New England or Washington preferring McCarthy over Maye would also make a deal much more accessible.

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