The Pros and Cons of 5 QB Prospects the Vikings Could Draft

Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports.

As soon as Kirk Cousins left the Minnesota Vikings, discussions of drafting a quarterback ramped up to whole new levels.

The question remains, though: which quarterback should the Vikings target? Each QB prospect comes with their own list of pros and cons, and today, we’ll be taking a look at five of the quarterbacks who could be on Minnesota’s radar this spring.

Drake Maye, North Carolina

QB Prospect
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.


The first thing that pops off the screen when watching Drake Maye is his ability to effortlessly throw the ball downfield. He has a beautiful deep ball and is plenty capable of making throws from all angles. He throws across the field with ease and can deliver strong passes off his back foot when facing pressure.

Maye can be equally as dangerous with his legs, though. At 6’4″ and nearly 230 pounds, Maye is not a player that many defenders will be eager to meet and tackle. He is plenty capable of picking up chunk yards with his legs. Combine this skillset with the fact that he will won’t turn 22 years old until August, and there is the makings of a special player.


The big concern with Maye is his tendency to try and play hero ball when things break down. Instead of living to see the next down, he’ll attempt to make something out of nothing, which can lead to some erratic throws, big sacks, and, in the worst case, turnovers. Of course, sometimes these situations can turn into mind-boggling highlights, and one of the major critiques of Cousins throughout his Vikings career was taking the “safe” route a bit too often, so maybe this could be a bit of a welcomed change in Minnesota.

Regardless, Maye will need to learn when to pick his spots at the NFL level, particularly as he first starts out in the league. If Maye can limit unnecessary sacks and turnovers while improving his occasionally erratic accuracy, there is no reason why he can’t be successful at the NFL level.

Jayden Daniels, LSU

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.


Like Maye, Jayden Daniels possesses a rocket-powered arm that he utilizes to connect for home run plays with his receivers. His average depth of target was 10.5 yards this season, ranking 17th among 86 QBs in college football with at least 300 drop backs, per PFF. Even still, Daniels completed 72.2% of his passes last season.

Daniels is a very special athlete as well. He didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine or during LSU’s pro day, but his tape is littered with ridiculous scrambles where he showcases elite speed and acceleration. In the blink of an eye, Daniels can turn a potential sack into a 60-yard touchdown run. The LSU product has Michael Vick-esque potential.


For starters, Daniels is on the older side of the spectrum for a rookie quarterback. He will turn 24 years old in December, so he’ll be well into his late-20s by the time his rookie contract ends. As a result, his athletic ability could begin to dwindle during his second deal.

Injuries could be a concern for Daniels as well. He needs to be much better about sliding once he reaches the NFL because he took some absolutely massive hits in college while fighting for extra yards. At right around 210 pounds, these types of hits are a recipe for disaster for a slim QB. Similarly to Anthony Richardson last year, he also needs to be a little bit more consistent about making the “gimme” plays.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Vikings Draft Prospect
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.


J.J. McCarthy is a surgeon with his passing ability. He delivers accurate passes at all three levels of the field, and this accuracy is an area that has improved in each season he’s spent in the Michigan offense. The velocity on his throws allows him to fit passes into tight windows downfield. He leads his receivers well, allowing them to pick up yards after the catch as well.

On top of his throwing ability, McCarthy has a knack for maneuvering around the pocket. He has the athletic ability to take off and pick up yards with his legs when production breaks down. This certainly isn’t something he does a ton of, but it’s a useful skill to have in his back pocket. He also just turned 21 years old in January, making him one of the youngest players in this draft class.


McCarthy has a strong arm, but he needs to be better about adjusting his velocity to put more touch on some of his passes to make things easier on his receivers. Additionally, while he saw plenty of success at Michigan, he was playing in a gritty, run-first offense for a team that also featured a fantastic defensive group.

There is no better example of this than the national championship game against Washington. McCarthy threw the ball just 18 times for 140 yards while Corum and Edwards really did much of the work to earn that title. What will happen when he’s asked to be a big-time playmaker at the NFL level? Luckily, the Vikings feature one of the better systems to toss in a rookie QB, so the transition should be easier for him in Minnesota than some other teams.

Michael Penix, Washington

Minnesota Reemerges
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.


When Michael Penix is able to stand and the pocket and throw, he is a very talented passer. He puts plenty of velocity on his throws, which allows him to fit passes into tight windows and push the ball downfield. He can go through his progressions well and reads coverages very well.

Penix doesn’t use his legs often, but they are a sneaky weapon that he can utilize to move around the pocket and pick up some yards when protection breaks down.


While Penix can thrive as a pocket passer, problem arise when he is forced to make plays off schedule. He panics a bit under pressure, and accurate, smart passes turn into erratic decisions quickly when things break down around him.

Injuries will be a major question mark as well. He suffered four season-ending injuries during his tenure at Indiana, including a pair of torn ACLs and a pair of shoulder injuries. Luckily, his medicals came back clear at the combine, and he has put together a pair of healthy seasons with the Washington Huskies in 2022 and 2023. If he has left the injuries in the past, Penix has a chance to be a very solid starter.

Bo Nix, Oregon

Vikings Rookie QB
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.


After a shaky stint with the Auburn Tigers, Bo Nix completely rejuvenated his collegiate career with the Oregon Ducks over the past couple years. He has an innate ability to hit receivers in stride in the short passing game. He gets the ball out quickly, giving receivers time to pick up yards after the catch. 

When protection breaks down, Nix has proven himself as a very capable athlete as well. His mobility allows him to pick up plenty of chunk yards with his legs, giving him another element that opposing defenses will have to think about when planning against him.


Nix’s completion percentage skyrocketed over his two years at Oregon, but that came with the caveat of his average depth of target (ADOT) plummeting. After averaging 9.0 yards during the 2021 season at Auburn, his ADOT dropped more than one and a half yards to 7.4 in 2022 and fell even further to 6.8 during the 2023 season.

130 of Nix’s 470 pass attempts were to a target behind the line of scrimmage, the second-most of any FBS quarterback in 2023, per PFF. Meanwhile, he attempted just 51 passes that traveled 20+ yards through the air, ranking 51st in the FBS. He will be forced to keep defenses honest at the NFL level by pushing the ball downfield, but will he be able to consistently make those throws?

Editor’s Note; Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.