Potential Vikings QB Shines on Tuesday — With GM Watching

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has a complete list of tasks for his third offseason in charge of the Minnesota Vikings, with Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter at the top of every free agent index. The Pro Bowl defender leaves a massive hole at the outside linebacker position, and a potential departure of Cousins would lead to a need at the most important position on the team.

Potential Vikings QB Shines on Tuesday — With GM Watching

Potential Vikings QB Shines on Tuesday--With Kwesi Watching
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Adofo-Mensah has a lot of work to do in the next few months as both contracts could still be extended, which could actually lower the cap hit in 2024. But the GM might consider moving one and getting younger (and cheaper) at one, if not two, key spots.

He currently holds the 11th overall pick, perhaps too late to get one of the top three guys: Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels. Trading up is rumored to be an option, but it takes two teams to complete a trade. The teams picking early could just hang up the phone.

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That leaves the Vikings to select one passer of the second tier. Two of those guys, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix, participate in the Senior Bowl, and Adofo-Mensah is watching them closely. Alec Lewis from The Atheltic reported on X: “Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was on the field this morning at the Senior Bowl. Present for Bo Nix & Michael Penix throwing session.”

Penix guided Washington all the way to the national championship game. Michigan defeated them, but that doesn’t take anything away from Penix’s outstanding season with 36 passing touchdowns and almost 5,000 passing yards.

Nix, meanwhile, enjoyed his statistically best season in Oregon’s offense. He recorded 51 total touchdowns and roughly 4,700 yards from scrimmage.

picking Penix could
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They are intriguing players for Minnesota if they can’t land one of the top prospects. It is still too early to pin down their draft stock, but they are expected to be available when the Vikings are on the clock.

According to Lance Zierlein and Eric Edholm from NFL.com, Penix had a fantastic day as his arm talent separated him from Nix.

It’s tough for quarterbacks to step in and dominate on the first day of Senior Bowl practice as they acclimate to a new offense and new teammates, and each of the National Team QBs had their share of ups and downs. But of the four, Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. probably did the most to open eyes with some of his throws.

He hit Michigan WR Roman Wilson on a deep crosser to the far side of the field on one of his best throws of the day, delivering it with touch and placement between two defenders.

Penix’s arm talent just looked different working next to Oregon’s Bo Nix and Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman. Penix also looked more comfortable taking snaps from center than the others did through one practice.

Washington’s passer opened the eyes of casual college football observers when he put on a show in the CFP semifinal versus Texas. He passed for 430 yards and two scores with a handful of outstanding deep passes, showcasing his accuracy on long bombs and arm strength to get them to his receivers.

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Besides the strong arm, his other strengths are excellent timing and decision-making from the pocket. He is probably the most pro-ready player in the draft when executing a play as it is drawn up. Penix can dissect defenses by throwing short, quick passes and beating them deep. There is no pass he can’t make, although he should work on his touch on passes. Most of them are lasers, but some passes require less velocity.

But he also has some serious concerns. For one, his injury history will surely scare away teams. He suffered two torn ACLs in his college career, and a pair of shoulder injuries also cost him time. The good news is that he is a pocket passer, preventing him from taking the hits running QBs encounter. However, mobility is an essential train in today’s game.

Michigan defensive lineman Kenneth Grant reaches out to sack Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the second quarter during the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

Another negative is that Penix struggles under pressure, as seen in the championship game when Michigan overmatched his front. He is a brilliant quarterback when the play is according to plan, but when it breaks down, he crumbles. It’s a familiar critique in Minnesota, as that sounds a whole lot like a general assessment of Cousins.

Right after the draft, Penix will turn 24. That isn’t really a big deal nowadays, with collegiate careers getting longer and longer, but his untapped potential might be limited compared to 21-year-olds Maye and J.J. McCarthy.

The scouting duo also mentioned some misses during his first day of the Senior Bowl:

But there were at least two plays in full-team sessions where Penix likely held onto the ball too long. He also misfired on a few other passes and didn’t finish his day quite as strong as he started.

The week has just begun, and Penix seemed to gain an early edge, but not so much so that the others can’t catch up.

Outcome at QB
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Adofo-Mensah, and even more importantly, Kevin O’Connell, will continue to evaluate the potential QB targets in the draft. One thing is certain: They must address the position at some point, and there is a decent chance this is the year to do it.

When it comes to Penix, they must decide if the positives outweigh the negatives. He certainly has some intriguing attributes but also some alarming red flags.

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