The Evidence Suggests One Vikings Draft Plan Is Inevitable

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.

The 2024 NFL Draft is precisely 10 weeks away, and the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to pick 11th on the evening of April 25th.

The Evidence Suggests One Vikings Draft Plan Is Inevitable

And while Vikings fans debate the path the franchise should pursue with the pick, one plan seems inevitable: selecting a quarterback early in the event.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, IN. The Vikings finished 13-4 in the first year under Adofo-Mensah’s general management.

Here’s why.

Vikes Would’ve Extended Cousins Last Year

The Evidence Suggests
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings had the opportunity — as in, a year-long period — to re-sign Kirk Cousins in 2023, and then they just didn’t. Now, Cousins will turn 36 by the time the 2024 regular season rolls around, and he has a bad Achilles.

If Minnesota wouldn’t re-sign Cousins one year ago, why would they become more inclined to do it when the man has two unfortunate strikes against him? Age and injury.

The evidence seems to suggest drafting an heir apparent quarterback was the plan all along, and the 2024 NFL Draft seems like an apropos time.

The Competitive Rebuild

Draft Analyst
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2022, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over the organization and announced a “competitive rebuild” was on the horizon. Well, NFL teams don’t usually rebuild without a new quarterback. Or if they rebuild, attaching a 36-year-old quarterback to the strategy is bizarre and backward.

Even if Cousins re-ups with Minnesota for a year, two, or three, drafting a quarterback to marinate as QB2 for a while seems likely. There would really be absolutely zero point to a rebuild if the Vikings quietly knew Cousins would be retained all along. Since Adofo-Mensah accepted the general manager post, a steady march toward a Cousins replacement has ensued. And when the Vikings make that selection — probably this April — everything about the team’s future, Adofo-Mensah’s and Kevin O’Connell’s, in particular — revolves around that quarterback’s performance.

If the next quarterback stinks, so goes the careers of Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell. For better or worse.

The Drought

Different for 2
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Listen, it’s just time for the Vikings to swing for the fences on a young quarterback. The last time they tried it was 10 years ago. Teddy Bridgewater was the guy, and he lasted two seasons.

Moreover, Minnesota has never drafted a quarterback with a Top 10 pick. If there was ever a time to trade up in the draft, make a statement along the way, and put chips in the middle of the table for a Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels — it’s now. Unbelievably, the Vikings simply have never used prime draft capital on a quarterback.

That drought needs water, and the time feels like it could be now.

Otherwise, the Vikings risk “doing the same thing over and over again” with Cousins as QB1.

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).

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