5 Things Learned for Vikings at NFL Combine

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Eight days remain until the beginning of free agency, and the 2024 NFL Combine is winding down in Indianapolis.

5 Things Learned for Vikings at NFL Combine

The event lasted almost a week, and the Vikings have their highest draft pick in nine years, so all eyes focused in that direction for the last several days.

So, here’s what was learned in relation to the Vikings. The items are ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important).

5. Any J.J. McCarthy Fears Erased

for Vikings at NFL
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during the pregame before the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Ncaa Fiesta Bowl Game.

McCarthy weighed in around 220 pounds and stood roughly 6’3.” Some believe he’d be a bit slender, but his measurements claimed otherwise. He has “normal” NFL quarterback stature and is not too lean or lanky for the position.

Some also questioned his arm strength, but he put some highlights on tape to punch back at the narrative.

McCarthy is the most realistic option if the Vikings want a quarterback and cannot trade into the Top 3. So, the positive news about him at the Combine — was positive for Minnesota.

4. New RB Probably on the Way

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Smack dab in the middle of the Combine, news leaked that the Vikings would reportedly release Alexander Mattison, whose resume had five seasons in the North Star State. Minnesota’s ground game has struggled in back-to-back seasons, so the leadership regime evidently identified Mattison as one of the weak links.

Two days before Mattison’s presumptive release, head coach Kevin O’Connell said the Vikings may look to “infuse” RB talent from free agency or the draft. Well, with Mattison finding the exit sign, all signs point to a new running back in 2024 to pair with Ty Chandler.

3. Vikings, Indeed, Want Cousins Back

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“Had a great conversation with him a few days ago. At the end of the day, it’s we have our interests, he has his, and we get to the table and see if we can figure out a creative solution and how to meet in the middle. What we do know is we have a really great quarterback, a great leader, and somebody that we think we can win the ultimate prize with, and so that’s ultimately what I focus on, and that’s where we’re at right now,” general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah told reporters.

Left up to the Vikings’ desires, Cousins would quarterback the 2024 Vikings. They aren’t sick of him. However, the 35-year-old can probably obtain a fatter contract on the open market. The Atlanta Falcons, more and more by the day, feel like Cousins’ next team.

2. Justin Jefferson’s Extension Is Inevitable

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Adofo-Mensah weighed in on Jefferson, too, “We’ve said it, and we’ll continue to say it: we think he’s the best wide receiver in the league and should be compensated as such. We think he’s one of the best non-quarterbacks in the league, think he should be compensated as such.”

The young executive also said trading Jefferson isn’t an option. “That is not something that has ever crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah replied when a reporter asked about trading Jefferson as a possibility. He added, “You got a blue player, a blue person. You try to keep as many of those as you can.”

Adofo-Mensah, too, stated the Vikings and Jefferson were “incredibly close” to making the extension final last September.

Before Tuesday, NFL media wouldn’t stop with rampant Jefferson trade theories. After Adofo-Mensah’s press conference, they all vanished.

1. Vikings’ QB Homework Was Extensive

Vikings Are Basically Done
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Minnesota met with almost every major quarterback prospect at the NFL Combine. They even scored a sitdown with Caleb Williams, who is probably out of their reach.

Of course, the Vikings always do homework on quarterbacks, but this year was supersized. For example, Minnesota didn’t meet with Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud last year, at least not per public knowledge. This year is different.

The Vikings appear to be beating the drum steadily to draft a new quarterback. We shall see if they’re able to trade up for a blue-chip prospect or end up with a J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, or Michael Penix.

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 OverTheCap.com.