Vikings More Interested in One QB than Fans Think

Dustin Baker's Predictive 7-Round Mock Draft for Vikings
Vikings Draft

For about three weeks, Minnesota Vikings fans have decided that the club will probably draft North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Vikings More Interested in One QB than Fans Think

While those men remain firmly in the mix to become Minnesota’s next signal-caller, it may be time to welcome another man into the fold: Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

vikings
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

After McCarthy’s rise into the draft’s Top 10 in the last two months, Penix Jr. felt like the odd man out. Some draft heads even sent the rookie into Round 2 in various mocks. But any Penix Jr. draft theories involving Round 2 are probably false.

Meanwhile, the Vikings brass is evidently all-in exploring Penix Jr. Bleacher Report‘s Jordan Schultz tweeted Thursday, exactly three weeks away from the draft, “The Vikings flew out their whole staff for a private workout with Michael Penix Jr. in Seattle, including HC Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, sources say. I’m told Penix has a top 30 with the Raiders today, who currently hold the 13th pick in the draft.”

from Vikings End
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The left-handed flamethrower dazzled in the College Football Semifinal three months ago, helping the Huskies chip off Texas with a remarkable performance. Folks envisioned Penix Jr. feeding the rock to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson on Sundays, and most agreed the plan would be pretty sweet.

But then the National Championship arrived, Penix Jr. + his Huskies collapsed, and Michigan won — with J.J. McCarthy at the QB1 helm, a man who would later take over frontrunner status to become the Vikings’ next quarterback. And after the Vikings’ unforeseen trade with the Houston Texans three weeks ago, most of the team’s fans settled on a Top 5 quarterback prospect as the probable outcome in the draft, putting all things Penix Jr. on the backburner.

rookie qb
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Now, however, Penix Jr. might be back after the Pro Day showing.

NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport said Thursday, “It’s been a big week for Michael Penix Jr. I would say at this point he’s a likely 1st-Round pick and likely to go in the first half of the 1st Round.”

Minnesota wouldn’t send an entire entourage without at least sideways interest in selecting Penix Jr. in the draft. Maybe the team believes Penix Jr. will fall to the 23rd pick — or even out of Round 1 — and is simply doing its diligence.

On the whole, though, Vikings fans must recognize and understand that Penix Jr. to Vikings remains quite real. None of this fanfare is occurring with Bo Nix, for example. That should provide some context.

Minnesota Reemerges
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

The knocks on Penix Jr.? They’re pretty straightforward: injury history (it’s lengthy) and age (he’ll turn 24 next month).

Minnesota hasn’t drafted a quarterback in Round 1 since 2014 with Teddy Bridgewater.


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.

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