Vikings Cannot Succumb to Temptation in 2 Weeks

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Because Kirk Cousins left the franchise one month ago, the Minnesota Vikings need a quarterback — probably from the 2024 NFL Draft.

Vikings Cannot Do Things “the Old Way” in 2 Weeks

It’s not really debatable outside any echo chamber that secretly loves Sam Darnold. The veteran passer joined the Vikings roster on a one-year, $10 million deal and may actually start Week 1.

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But that shouldn’t be the solution, nor should the Vikings select some mid-round prospect while hoping for the best. The club has done that before, and it does not work for this organization. Therefore, Minnesota must disregard the old way — the team’s previously quarterback-themed pitfalls — and be bold by trying something new. It cannot succumb to the temptation of the easy way by drafting a mid-rounder and crossing fingers.

1. 21 QBs in 20 Years

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The Vikings have showcased 21 different starting quarterbacks in the last 20 years:

  • Daunte Culpepper
  • Brad Johnson
  • Tarvaris Jackson
  • Kelly Holcomb
  • Brooks Bollinger
  • Gus Frerotte
  • Brett Favre
  • Joe Webb
  • Christian Ponder
  • Donovan McNabb
  • Josh Freeman
  • Matt Cassel
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Shaun Hill
  • Sam Bradford
  • Case Keenum
  • Kirk Cousins
  • Sean Mannion
  • Jaren Hall
  • Joshua Dobbs
  • Nick Mullens

That’s the group, and it’s too many. For context, the Green Bay Packers have employed seven. Three times as many for the purple team.

Of course, Minnesota stabilized the spot for six seasons with Kirk Cousins and should be commended for it. Outside of Cousins, though, the usual way of doing things hasn’t worked. Too much quarterback instability has canceled the club’s chances of staying a consistent threat in the NFC.

It’s time to be different in the draft, either via trading for the correct prospect or making absolutely sure the organically selected passer is right for Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

2. Avoid Half-Measured Solutions

Kellen Mond
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Minnesota has tried mid-rounders at quarterback before. The products were Tarvaris Jackson, Kellen Mond, and Jaren Hall for a minute in 2023. Not ideal.

Other NFL teams, like the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, Dallas Cowboys in 2016, and San Francisco 49ers in 2022, can get away with scouring the draft’s later rounds for a promising quarterback lottery ticket. Minnesota has done that repeatedly since Fran Tarkenton retired about 50 years ago. Nothing has worked, or at least hasn’t produced a Super Bowl.

The Vikings’ plan in this draft cannot be half-measured. Time ran out on that idea.

3. Make the Trade. Do It.

drake maye
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Some Vikings fans cannot stomach trading multiple 1st-Rounders to the New England Patriots, for example, for Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy. The fear is understandable and not baseless.

But Minnesota has never used a Top 10 draft pick on a quarterback. Never. Then, one looks at some NFL statistics and learns the Vikings are the NFL’s fourth-best team in the Super Bowl era in the regular season while still not hoisting a Lombardi Trophy.

If only for trying something different — trying to break the chains of postseason futility — Minnesota must do something it has never done before: trade into the Top 10 and take a crack at a quarterback. Reaching for quarterbacks in Round 1 hasn’t worked. Drafting mid-rounders with cute upside hasn’t worked. Signing sure-thing veterans like Cousins hasn’t worked.

Try the alternative: trading a bunch to snag a blue-chip prospect. What’s the worst that can happen? The team doesn’t win a Super Bowl for the 64th year in a row?

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