There’s One Reason Vikings Need to Get into Top 10 for QB Draft Pick

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.

Does it feel like the Minnesota Vikings are overdue to draft a quarterback with high-round capital?

There’s One Reason Vikings Need to Get into Top 10 for QB Draft Pick

History is on your side if you feel that in your bones.

Need to Get into Top
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, the Vikings could “get away with” not choosing a rookie passer early in the 2024 NFL Draft. The franchise could re-sign Kirk Cousins for a few years and let her rip. That plan hasn’t worked to the tune of a Super Bowl or even a Conference Championship appearance in six years, but maybe 2024 will be different. That’s the Holy Grail envisioned by some, anyway.

Yet, before too long, Minnesota must step up to the plate on draft night and swing at a quarterback. That’s how the NFL works. And the club might be best served to trade into the Top 10 for one. Why? Well, it has never done such a thing.

Cousins to NFC
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Foremost, the Vikings haven’t used a 1st- or 2nd-Round pick on a quarterback in a draft since 2014. Teddy Bridgewater was the most recent nominee and played his final NFL game on Sunday. That’s how long it’s been. Bridgewater conducted a whole career — mostly not on the Vikings’ roster — during Minnesota’s quarterback drought.

More interestingly, though, is this: The Vikings have never — like ever — used a Top 10 draft pick on a quarterback. The refusal is nearly exclusive, too. The only two NFL teams that have not used a Top 10 draft choice on a passer are the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos. The Ravens’ inclusion in the stat is a bit jaded because their draft history didn’t begin until the 1990s when they took over the Browns logo and identity. Moreover, the Broncos haven’t technically used a Top 10 pick on a quarterback but ended up with John Elway from the Top 10 in 1983 after some tomfoolery.

Photo By Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports.

The lesson? The Vikings are close to the only legitimate team in league history to never spend Top 10 draft capital on a quarterback. Here’s the complete list:

The number of QBs drafted in the Top 10 throughout history on a team-by-team basis:

  • ARI: 12
  • WAS: 10
  • IND: 9
  • CHI: 7
  • CIN: 7
  • LAR: 7
  • GB: 6
  • NYG: 6
  • TEN: 6
  • CLE: 5
  • DET: 5
  • NYJ: 5
  • SF: 5
  • JAX: 4
  • LAC: 4
  • MIA: 4
  • PHI: 4
  • TB: 4
  • ATL: 3
  • CAR: 3
  • DAL: 3
  • KC: 3
  • PIT: 3
  • HOU: 2
  • LV: 2
  • NE: 2
  • NO: 2
  • BUF: 1
  • SEA: 1
  • BAL: 0
  • DEN: 0
  • MIN: 0

Yes, that’s the Vikings dwelling at the bottom.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The organization has long been beset by quarterback instability after Fran Tarkenton retired 46 years ago. Minnesota produces mostly marvelous regular season results, with zero Super Bowls as cake toppers. Along the way, Tommy Kramer, Daunte Culpepper, and Kirk Cousins have performed well in various decades, but the Vikings have not found a Tarkenton since Tarkenton.

Equipped with the 11th overall pick in April’s draft, it might be time to trade into the Top 10 — maybe even the Top 3 — to end the drought.

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