Report: Vikings Interested in Trading Up for This QB

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

The draft is less than a month away. It could be a groundbreaking event for the Minnesota Vikings. This franchise has never drafted a passer in the top ten, which might explain the organization’s struggles at the position. However, the purple team is in the market for a QB and has the draft capital to move up. Many names and trade options have been speculated about.

Report: Vikings Interested in Trading Up for This QB

Vikings Are Reportedly Interested in Trading Up for This QB
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

While there have been endless theories about J.J. McCarthy or even Jayden Daniels, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler dropped one specific name on Friday’s episode of Sports Center. He mentioned there’s a “belief among some teams” that Drake Maye is the guy Minnesota wants to acquire on April 25.

Drake Maye, I’ve heard from multiple league execs he has the most upside of any of the quarterbacks in this draft, maybe any player in this draft. He’s got that Josh Allen, Justin Herbert build—I’m not saying he’s them but he’s got some of those shades—where if you can let him sit for a year behind the scenes, he can really develop into an All-Star.

The Vikings could be a perfect scenario for them. There’s a belief among some teams that Minnesota could try to trade up to get him. It would take a lot, but they are armed with two first-round picks to try to make it happen.

Jeremy Fowler

Fowler is a well-connected ESPN insider. He wouldn’t proclaim such a theory without other teams actually confirming it. Now, do those teams know, or are they speculating?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

Maye would be a wonderful draft choice for Minnesota because his upside is endless. He would be in the perfect position to come closer to that ceiling than he could in other situations.

The Vikings employ Maye’s former high school coach, Josh McCown, a former NFL quarterback. McCown and head coach Kevin O’Connell, also a former NFL quarterback, could help Maye refine his mechanics and support him in growing into the best version of himself.

The 21-year-old was a two-year starter at North Carolina, following Seattle’s new backup Sam Howell. In those two years, he had an outstanding 2022 season that put him on the map and a disappointing 2023 campaign with an underwhelming supporting cast. He produced 62 passing and 16 rushing touchdowns in those two seasons while throwing 16 interceptions. He gained more than 9,000 yards from scrimmage.

Vikings First Round
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Maye has all the necessary physical tools. He is a rushing threat and can be used on designed quarterback runs, but he is even more dangerous as a scrambler on a broken play. Maye is a menace inside and outside the pocket, possesses prototypical quarterback size, and has a strong arm, allowing him to make every throw, especially in O’Connell’s offense that needs a downfield passer.

The raw skills are there, but he must work on some fundamentals. That’s why the Vikings are the perfect spot for the talented prospect. Because the franchise believes Sam Darnold will be a solid bridge passer while benefitting from the excellent surroundings, he wouldn’t be forced to start anytime soon. He can work behind the scenes on his craft without the exposure (and scrutiny) on Sundays.

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

Also beneficial is the supporting cast that includes 2022 Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson, perhaps the best eraser of mistakes in the league. An inaccurate pass into double coverage that probably shouldn’t have been thrown can very well end up as a completion with him.

Sophomore Jordan Addison completes the tandem after his fantastic rookie season, while tight end T.J. Hockenson roams as a usage monster in the middle of the field (Maye’s sweet spot). The offensive line isn’t an elite unit by any means, but having two Pro Bowl-caliber offensive tackles will help any young passer be comfortable in the pocket.

It is a match made in heaven for both the franchise and the quarterback, and it might come true on April 25.

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