ESPN Confirms Popular Draft Suspicion for Vikings

Vikings Draft Clues from Free Agency
NFL Draft

If you believe it’s time for the Minnesota Vikings to draft a quarterback of the future, well, you’re not alone.

ESPN Confirms Popular Draft Suspicion for Vikings

The Vikings must decide in the next five weeks to extend quarterback Kirk Cousins’ contract or let him walk to open free agency. If the franchise preferred the latter, it would almost certainly use the 2024 NFL Draft to choose a quarterback of the future.

Confirms Popular Draft
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota, too, could “do both” — retain Cousins for a year or two while also drafting the next guy to take over when Cousins departs. All options are on the table.

And according to ESPN, the NFL is watching the Vikings as potential players to trade up the draftboard on April 25th. Minnesota was allegedly interested in bartering for Bryce Young or Anthony Richardson in 2023, but the price was too steep. Now, in a rather deep quarterback draft, the time could be now to pounce.

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ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote last weekend, “The Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13) might be a team to watch. New coach Antonio Pierce is a big fan of Daniels from their days together at Arizona State, and word is that Pierce evaluated offensive coordinators with the loose possibility of Daniels in mind. People around the league are keeping an eye on the Minnesota Vikings at No. 11, too.”

The Vikings have not drafted this high since 2016, when it grabbed cornerback Trae Waynes from Michigan State. The stars seem to be aligning: Minnesota holds its highest piece of draft capital in eight years inside one of the deepest quarterback classes of the last decade.

Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports.

Fowler added about the Vikings’ possible draft plans, “They did a lot of quarterback homework last offseason and could eventually target one high in the draft with free agent Kirk Cousins’ future in Minnesota uncertain. But moving from No. 11 into the top three would cost GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah a ton of draft capital.”

Meanwhile, regarding Cousins’ situation, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote about a would-be Cousins extension last week, “The team’s key decision-makers are on record saying they will try to get Cousins re-signed, and the quarterback has said he wants to finish his career in Minnesota. The outcome likely will hinge on whether the Vikings are willing to give Cousins, who turns 36 in the summer, multiple fully guaranteed years in his new deal. That seems a 50-50 proposition at best.”

Need in 2024
Image Courtesy of Cody Lauer | The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri. The Vikings drafted six players during the event, from WR Jordan Addison to RB DeWayne McBride.

The Vikings’ front office and Cousins may be stuck on the number of years and structure of the contract. And if Cousins walked, the Fowler trade theory would intensify.

Quarterbacks Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Round 1. If Minnesota were interested in Williams, Maye, or Daniels, it would likely have to trade up the board into the Top 5 to get its man.

The price of trading up to No. 3, for example, would probably cost approximately two 1st-Rounders and two 2nd-Rounders as a baseline.

Another fascinating prospect that would not require a trade of any sort is Tulane’s Michael Pratt. His draft stock suggests a Round 2 or 3 fee.

The NFL draft is 80 days away.

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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