Predictions for the Vikings’ QB Group in 2024

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It is the hot topic of discussion in the Minnesota Vikings orbit. What are they going to do at quarterback? With free agency and the draft rapidly approaching, I will put forward my predictions for the Vikings’ quarterback group.

Predictions for the Vikings’ QB Group in 2024

Many questions need answering. Will the Vikings re-sign Kirk Cousins? What would his contract look like? Or will they draft a first-round rookie? Could they even do both? If Cousins leaves town and a rookie is drafted, are Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall the right supporting cast? I will look at all the possibilities and predict how I think it will all shake out. There is only one place to start.

Kirk Cousins

Kevin O’Connell wants Cousins back as his QB, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has expressed he would like Cousins to return. However, contract talks that started over a year ago still have not yielded anything. The issues surround money: how much of it will be guaranteed and contract length. There has always been a sense of positivity from the Vikings’ camp, but the tune seemed to change with O’Connell’s appearance on the NFL Network’s coverage from the scouting combine.

QB Group
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When asked about Cousins by Rich Eisen, O’Connell said, “I know, where he’s at in this whole process. He’s earned the right to be a free agent and he’s played really good football. I know he’s going to go through a full process. He’s a process guy. And hopefully, we continue to be a strong part of that process, and we figure out a way to keep him a Minnesota Viking, but my expectation is we’re not going to be the only ones that would like Kirk Cousins to be the quarterback of our team in 2024.”

Reports suggest that the Atlanta Falcons view Cousins as their primary target and are willing to pay whatever it takes to do the rounds. Cousins moving away from Minnesota is gaining steam.

Prediction: Cousins signs for Atlanta on a 3-year, $135 million deal.

Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall

Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall had chances to lead the Vikings offense last season. Neither gave much confidence that the Vikings could rely on them to lead the offense again with any success. The Vikings may look to keep Hall to develop him into a capable backup. Minnesota could save $1.9 million against the salary cap if they released Mullens in favor of either a rookie to back up Cousins this season or a different veteran option to go with a rookie.

Prediction: Nick Mullens is released, while Jaren Hall sticks around as QB3.

Free Agency

I predict Cousins and Mullens don’t have a future in Minnesota, which leaves the Vikings looking for two new quarterbacks. The search begins in free agency, where the options for genuine starting QBs start and end with Baker Mayfield. Gardner Minshew, Sam Darnold, and Drew Lock headline the younger players looking for another chance that could be brought in to compete with a rookie.

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If it’s a veteran mentor for a rookie, the Vikings are after the options are Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, and Jacob Brissett. My favorite choice is Minshew, but I believe he returns to Indianapolis. There is the option that the Vikings could trade for a QB, with Justin Fields and Zach Wilson the names that are in the frame.

Prediction: Vikings sign Sam Darnold to a 2-year, $7 million contract.

The Draft

In this scenario, the Vikings are drafting a QB in the first round. I don’t see a path for the Vikings to trade up into the top 3, with the three incumbent teams likely to take the top 3 QBs. That leaves the Vikings QB4, which is JJ McCarthy. The national champion-winning QB has been gathering steam as a first-round pick and clear QB4 and, for my money, is the clear option for Minnesota. Whether they can hold at 11 to get him or interest from other teams will require them to move up.

Mock Draft Attaches
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If Atlanta signs Cousins, that removes one of the two teams above them that would potentially be looking to draft a QB. The other is the New York Giants, but I believe with Daniel Jones signed to a big contract, their interest would be moving up for Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels. I believe the Giants will look at another position with that out of the equation. That doesn’t necessarily leave the path clear for the Vikings to hold at 11, with the possibility Denver, Las Vegas, or New Orleans might try and jump ahead of them if they want McCarthy.

Prediction: Minnesota trades with Tennesse and selects JJ McCarthy with the seventh overall pick.

The Final QB Group

  • JJ McCarthy
  • Sam Darnold
  • Jaren Hall

McCarthy will have training camp and preseason to prove he is ready to be thrown in the deep end and run the offense from day one. If O’Connell thinks he needs more time to develop, Darnold gets his third chance to be a team’s starting quarterback. The former third-overall pick has never had a supporting cast on offense as a starter as good as he will have in Minnesota. Failing to produce in this situation would probably end his hopes of being a starter going forward and completely relegate him to a career backup. The hope will be that McCarthy is ready.