Vikings Prepared to Settle on $10 Million QB Ahead of NFL Draft - Sport News

Vikings Prepared to Settle on $10 Million QB Ahead of NFL Draft

While the anticipation of the NFL Draft continues to skyrocket several prospects’ stocks, the Minnesota Vikings are prepared to make a pivot and stick with veteran quarterback Sam Darnold for the 2024 season.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported on April 2 that while the Vikings have made “deep plans to evaluate the top prospects” in this year’s quarterback class, they are prepared for the possibility of sticking with Darnold and drafting a quarterback later in the draft or even waiting until the 2025 draft.

“On the one hand, they’ve made deep plans to evaluate the top prospects via private workouts and/or visits, and they formed the outlines of a structure focused on developing a rookie quarterback,” Seifert wrote. “On the other, they’re preparing for the possibility of riding with offseason free agent addition Sam Darnold in 2024 and then regrouping with either a quarterback drafted with a lower pick or perhaps a look ahead to the 2025 class.”

The Vikings acquiring the No. 23 pick of the first round in a trade with the Houston Texans seemed like a surefire sign the organization intends to pair that pick with the No. 11 selection to move up and draft a quarterback.

However, the Vikings have sent mixed signals that the trade with the Texans was about “flexibility” and that they need a team to be “complicit” in a trade — a message that the Vikings aren’t willing to bend beyond their will no matter their desire to land a top prospect.

“The search for a complicit team willing to facilitate a trade up in the draft, and the need for flexibility to adjust if they can’t find one, is the middle ground the Vikings are operating in,” Seifert added.

New Vikings Regime Has Precedent of Passing on QB; is Confident in Darnold

Sam Darnold, Denver Broncos

 

The Vikings by all means will be aggressive in pursuing a trade into the top five of this year’s draft — but whether they will to a detriment to their future depends on who falls past the top two picks.

Star Tribune beat reporter Ben Goessling reported that the Vikings explored a move up in the 2023 draft but did not have the draft capital after the T.J. Hockenson trade. They also passed on Will Levis and selected wide receiver Jordan Addison instead.

Levis is a cautionary tale for teams to not buy the pre-draft hype that inflates players’ value.

He was pumped by several sources and was the betting favorite to go No. 2 overall in the days leading up to the 2023 draft. But on draft day his name was not called. He wasn’t selected until the second round.

This year is no exception to the pre-draft pump. J.J. McCarthy was deemed to go as high as No. 2 overall as a favorite target by the Washington Commanders, while Michael Penix Jr. seemingly pushed his way into the top 20 with his pro-day performance after months of being a fringe first-round talent.

Where prospects fall on the 32 teams draft boards won’t ever be known, but if public opinion has any say, the price seems to only be getting higher for the Vikings to land a quarterback this draft.

And O’Connell appears confident that he can make things work with Darnold, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the team in March.

“I think his best football is ahead of him because of how he’s handled the last couple of years,” O’Connell said on NFL Network, per Pro Football Talk. “Whether it’s going 4-2 down the stretch in Carolina in ’22, or when you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco, you can tell Kyle, Brian Griese, they did a great job in the next phase of his career. Fundamentals, techniques, things that you look for to see growth. I’m excited to get going with Sam.”

Vikings QB Destiny is at the Patriots’ Will

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

The top two picks in the draft are locked at quarterback with obvious needs at the position for the Chicago Bears and Commanders.

The New England Patriots also have quarterback needs but lack any semblance of a good offense to plug a rookie quarterback into. ESPN’s Mike Clay graded the Patriots offense as a bottom-three unit for the 2024 season following the first wave of free agency.

That hasn’t stopped New England from posturing that they’re adamant on taking a rookie quarterback. Interim general manager Eliott Wolf reported to be “pushing hard” for the team to draft a quarterback.

Ideally, the Vikings would trade up to the No. 3 spot with the Patriots and draft their guy instead of hoping the Patriots don’t select their choice prospect.

However, the Patriots are poised to play hardball for the coming weeks and even potentially up to the final moments before their pick in the potential pursuit that the Vikings make an offer they can’t refuse — likely to the tune of three first-round picks.

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