Dane Mizutani: It’s impossible for Vikings to overpay in pursuit of their next quarterback

This is the moment Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have been waiting for since they sat alongside each other during an introductory press conference on Feb. 17, 2022.

They talked all about collaboration at the time as they helped the Vikings usher in a new era. They projected how good they could be in the present with Kirk Cousins under center, while still making sure to focus on the future. They kept their eye on this draft class, in particular, knowing that’s where they would potentially be able to select their next quarterback.

Now all they have to do is go out and execute a plan that has been a couple of years in the making.

As the Vikings prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25-27, they do so in possession of the No. 11 pick of the first round, with the No. 23 pick in their back pocket. That should be more than enough ammunition to make a blockbuster deal.

That’s important because they are probably going to have to trade up to have a chance at drafting a top quarterback — LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Though it’s unclear which quarterback the Vikings have ranked the highest, Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell should be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they get the guy they want.

It’s impossible for the Vikings to overpay in the pursuit of their next quarterback.

Let’s say they like Daniels or Maye and either the Washington Commanders, who have the No. 2 pick, or the New England Patriots, who have the No. 3 pick, are asking for a king’s ransom in return.

It shouldn’t even be a question for the Vikings to do a deal if they can get somebody of that caliber.

Let’s say they also like McCarthy, and either the Arizona Cardinals, who have the No. 4 pick, or the Los Angeles Chargers, who have the No. 5 pick, agree to move back if the price is right.

It would be worth it for the Vikings to do a deal rather than run the risk another team jumping them in line.

You can’t afford to settle at this point. Not with a decision of this magnitude.

Look no further than the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for a case study in how trading up can pay off. They honed in on Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes ahead of the 2017 draft, and they made sure they got him. It was a similar story for the Buffalo Bills the following year. They fell in love with Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen ahead of the 2018 draft and didn’t sit back and wait for him to fall into their lap.

It’s safe to assume neither the Chiefs nor the Bills are thinking about the draft picks it took to make those deals happen. They are both set at the most important position in sports for the foreseeable future. That’s the only thing that matters.

Sure, for every Mahomes and Allen, there’s the other side of the spectrum, like when the San Francisco 49ers gave up the farm for North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, or when the Carolina Panthers mortgaged their future for Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

Just because something is risky doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. The fear of striking out shouldn’t stop the Vikings from trying to hit a home run.

That’s something Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell need to remember as they contemplate how much they’re willing to give up to make sure they get the guy they want. If they get it right, it won’t matter, because nobody is going to care how much it cost. If they get it wrong, it won’t matter, because they probably won’t be around to see it through.

Related Articles