Vikings Have Been Linked to 25 Quarterbacks

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The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed six years of Kirk Cousins, but soon after he left, the purple team became a lightning rod for quarterback theories.

Vikings Have Been Linked to 25 Quarterbacks

Cousins latched onto the Atlanta Falcons roster two weeks ago, grabbing $180 million over the next four years, more than Minnesota could afford. In the end, money was the important decision-making factor for Cousins — unsurprising for a talented athlete — though Cousins tried to say contract “structure” was his primary motivator. Structure is fancy semantics for guaranteed money.

January 10th, 2024. Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center concluding the 2023 NFL regular season. Minnesota finished 7-10 in 2023 and missed the postseason.

Following Cousins’ departure — like two days later — Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled of a stunning trade, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. With four weeks before the NFL draft, Minnesota sits in a wonderful spot to execute one more trade up the draftboard for a rookie quarterback. No team besides the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals have more 1st-Round ammunition than Minnesota, and Chicago is meaningless to the Vikings because it has the luxury of sticking-and-picking Caleb Williams of USC with the first overall pick.

With Cousins out of the equation, Adofo-Mensah signed once-promising passer Sam Darnold, a prime patchover-quarterback option for whichever signal-caller Minnesota drafts in four weeks.

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And from the start of the offseason until now, Minnesota has been linked to 25 quarterback possibilities, including Darnold and Cousins. Here’s the full list:

  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Jayden Daniels
  • Justin Fields
  • Joe Flacco
  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Justin Herbert
  • Mac Jones
  • Trey Lance
  • Drew Lock
  • Drake Maye
  • Baker Mayfield
  • J.J. McCarthy
  • Joe Milton
  • Gardner Minshew
  • Kyler Murray
  • Bo Nix
  • Michael Penix Jr.
  • Spencer Rattler
  • Tua Tagovailoa
  • Caleb Williams
  • Russell Wilson
  • Zach Wilson
  • Jameis Winston

Certainly, some names on the list above were more exciting than others. For example, Minnesota drafting Tennessee’s Joe Milton as the quarterback solution — a recommendation from Kyle Rudolph — would underwhelm most fans.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) warms up at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. NFL NY Jets Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars At Jets. © Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Many names were bridge-quarterback options: Brissett, Flacco, Jones, Lance, Lock, Mayfield, Minshew, the Wilsons, and Winston. Adofo-Mensah ultimately chose Darnold. The rookies, on the other hand, are the most realistic to lead the charge during life after Cousins. 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 Rounds 1 and 2.

Finally, the wild theories: Herbert and Murray. Former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum published a mock draft this week, and inside that badboy, he theorized a Vikings-Cardinals trade for Murray.

Tannenbaum wrote, “From the Vikings’ standpoint, everything I said earlier about Murray’s durability still matters, but he’s cheaper and younger than Kirk Cousins would have been to re-sign and gives them a chance to compete this season rather than rebuild.” He sent Murray and a 3rd-Rounder to the Vikings for the 11th overall pick.

Former OU quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray pose for a photo during halftime of Saturday’s spring game in Norman. © NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

The good news? One of the men should formally get the nod in four weeks when the Vikings make a selection in the draft. The list of 25 will dwindle to two: Darnold and the unnamed rookie.

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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