National Prediction on Vikings QB Situation Makes Sense

Today Mock Draft
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings haven’t selected a quarterback in Rounds 1 or 2 of a draft in ten years, but they might end the streak this April.

That’s the word from ESPN, anyway, as the sports media giant predicted outcomes for all free-agent quarterbacks and rookie prospects this week.

National Prediction on Vikings QB Situation Makes Sense

Minnesota has less than six weeks to decide on re-signing incumbent quarterback Kirk Cousins or letting him walk to free agency. Then, it has 12 weeks to ponder drafting a successor (in either scenario) at the end of April.

Vikings QB Situation
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Per ESPN, though, the Vikings will do both — retain Cousins while drafting Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy in Round 2. Kevin Seifert explained, “Cousins’ deal doesn’t void until after the deadline for franchise tags, so this would be an extension. He has repeatedly said he wants to end his career in Minnesota, and as he departed the locker room for the offseason, Cousins left the clear impression that he hoped the Vikings’ offer would reflect a similar wish.”

The Vikings’ leaders have said for months that they’d like Cousins back for Year No. 7 if the contract terms align.

Will NFL Pundits Admit
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

“Drafting at No. 11, Minnesota isn’t likely to select one of the top-tier quarterbacks in the class, so it makes sense to bring back Cousins. So in this case, let’s re-sign him to a two-year, $85 million fully guaranteed extension. That gives the Vikings two years — until Cousins is 38 years old — to draft and develop his successor,” added Seifert about retaining Cousins.

Cousins was on pace for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions before his unfortunate Achilles tear three months ago. Minnesota finished the season 3-6 without him.

Board Got Thicker
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Seifert then tabbed McCarthy as a 2nd-Round pick for Minnesota, “The Vikings would be thrilled with this outcome, whether they get McCarthy via a trade up into the first round or by having him fall to them on Day 2. Oregon’s Bo Nix was also available here, and he might have been the choice if Cousins hadn’t been re-signed. But with the veteran under contract for the next couple of years in this scenario, the Vikings have a longer runway to develop McCarthy, who is 21 years old.”

McCarthy just turned 21 a week and a half ago, so this plan by the Vikings would make sense — letting the Wolverine watch and learn for a year or two behind Cousins. It also emulates the Green Bay Packers’ model that has netted success with back-to-back passers in Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

Meanwhile, various non-ESPN mock drafts have forecasted the Vikings trading up the board as of late, usually making deals with the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, or Arizona Cardinals for Drake Maye (North Carolina) or Jayden Daniels (LSU).

If Minnesota isn’t interested in McCarthy, Maye, or Daniels, a few other passers are expected to go off the board in Round 1: Caleb Williams (USC), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), and Bo Nix (Oregon).

The NFL Draft is 85 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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