Ammo for a QB? Vikings Draft Position Has Been Solidified

Vikings Rookie QB
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

It was a disappointing season for the Minnesota Vikings, a season that virtually ended when Kirk Cousins got hurt in Week 8. Still in control of their destiny, the backup quarterback carousel dropped six of the last seven games. But that resulted in improved draft position, perhaps the major silver lining leading up to a big offseason for the franchise.

Ammo for a QB? Vikings Draft Position Has Been Solidified

Ammo for a QB? Vikings Draft Position Has Been Solidified
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

With the final loss of the regular season, a divisional game in Detroit, the Vikings have earned a decent pick for April’s draft and will be on the clock with the 11th overall pick.

The draft position is crucial for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah who is asked to do one of two things with it: Bringing the new franchise quarterback or help for Minnesota’s defense.

Identifying the right passer and getting in a position to draft him is much easier with a solid pick and it is undoubtedly the make-or-break decision for the regime Adofo-Mensah/Kevin O’Connell.

a Pivotal Vikings
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With Kirk Cousins set to enter free agency in March, and coming off a torn Achilles at age 35, it is time to find his successor. If Cousins is re-signed, they could draft a quarterback and sit him behind the veteran for a year or two but the 2023 campaign has shown that it is inadvisable to enter a season with Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall fighting for a starting gig. They are currently the two signal-callers under contract.

Enter the new guy. That could be a first-rounder acquired with the 11th overall pick unless the Vikings decide to be aggressive and trade up in the draft, which would also require that pick. The potential targets in the draft are Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Michael Penix, Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix, and J.J. McCarthy.

Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports.

With more than three months to go until the Vikes are on the clock, it is impossible to make any predictions but it is obvious that the franchise will do the homework on all of them, trying to find the next big thing.

Williams and Maye are expected to fly off the board early and they will perhaps even be the top two picks. Getting them would require a trade. Heisman winner Daniels is rising as he offers intriguing athleticism while Penix is lighting up the college playoffs. They are more realistic targets.

In the last 40 years, four quarterbacks were drafted with the 11th overall pick: Justin Fields, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, and Daunte Culpepper.

Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE Copyright (c) 2004 Bruce Kluckhohn.

Minnesota made a selection at that spot twice in addition to Culpepper, selecting Trae Waynes in 2015 and Derrick Alexander in 1995. Adofo-Mensah could add a fourth player to the list on April 25.

Culpepper played in Minnesota for seven seasons, throwing for over 20,000 yards and 135 touchdowns, forming an elite duo with Randy Moss for a while.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt