The NFC Team That Could Get in the Way of the Vikings Selecting a QB in the First Round
The Minnesota Vikings have many questions to answer when it comes to their roster this offseason if they want to get back into contention in the NFC.
One position that is particularly on the minds of Vikings fans right now is the quarterback spot. Of course, Kirk Cousins is a free agent, and while the Vikings could certainly re-sign the veteran, many are hoping that Minnesota takes a stab at a QB in the first round.
However, in order to do that, it could require the Vikings to make a massive trade to move up the board. There are certainly teams that could prevent that from being possible too. There is the obvious trio at the top (Chicago, Washington, New England), but another team could very easily get into the QB mix come draft time.
The NFC Team That Could Get in the Vikings’ Way for a QB
That team currently sits in the No. 8 position in this spring’s draft, the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta bounced between Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder throughout the 2023 season, finishing the year with a 7-10 record and missing out on the playoffs.
Of course, the hope in Atlanta is that a change at head coach from Arthur Smith to Raheem Morris can play a part in more success during the 2024 season, but it certainly feels like they could be a team interested in a QB this spring, whether it be via free agency or in the draft.
However, they were simply unable to find consistent production at the QB position. Desmond Ridder started 13 games, throwing for 2836 yards, 12 TDs, and 12 INTs. Meanwhile, Atlanta was 1-3 with Taylor Heinicke under center. With the NFC South continuing to look like a division filled with mediocre teams, the Falcons can run it if they figure out the QB spot this offseason.
The Falcons are a team that would suit a young, talented quarterback almost perfectly as well. Their defense is strong, and they have plenty of playmakers on the offensive side. Atlanta finished the 2023 season with 11th-fewest yards allowed and have selected Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson in each of the past three drafts. for their offensive skill positions They also finished the season as PFF’s fourth-best team in terms of pass blocking, so the offensive line will certainly help out a young QB.
If Atlanta wanted to block Minnesota from trading up in the draft to take a prospect like Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, they certainly could do so, and they may be able to do it for a cheaper price than the Vikings would have to pay to move from 11th overall.
In addition, Atlanta could let those three players go off the board and take J.J. McCarthy with that eighth overall pick. Yes, Michigan was a run-first offense, so McCarthy wasn’t asked to do a ton all the time, but he executed that offensive plan flawlessly when needed. He also has the mobility upside that intrigued Atlanta back in 2022.
Of course, nothing in terms of the NFL Draft is certain as of now in February. Many things will change between now and April 25th (free agency, the combine, trades, etc.). However, Minnesota will certainly have to keep the Falcons in mind if their goal is to land a top QB prospect this spring.
Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.