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O’Connell has spent life around QBs. Can that help Vikings draft one?

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings head coach and noted quarterback aficionado, has a good handle on what and who he wants, should his team be in the right position to pull the trigger come draft night April 25.

The who will have to wait. As for the what, well, he wants …

Accuracy. Toughness, both mentally and physically. A fast mind that instantly can process what the defense is giving, and the arm strength and/or athleticism to occasionally "change the game" by taking from the defense something that wasn't there for the taking.

It all sounds so good. And yet we all know there are no guarantees. Teams working 24/7/365 with unlimited resources to unearth every last piece of information haven't been and never will be immune to wasting great picks on bad quarterbacks who become remembered forever as infamously awful whiffs.

Why in the world is that?

"The quarterback position is one where you may have 10 really smart coaches or personnel folks watch the same cutup, and you might come away with 10 different opinions on the player," O'Connell said.

For what it's worth, O'Connell insists the Vikings have "a lot of really smart people" working under him and General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The difficult process toward a teamwide consensus on the QB possibilities has been, according to O'Connell, "really good."

Last week, Adofo-Mensah said that O'Connell has been a "big driver" of the process and that his QB experience brought "great value" to a franchise that's trying to package the 11th and 23rd picks – and possibly more – to move up and select a quarterback in the top 10 for the first time in the 64 drafts in which it has participated.

O'Connell has been an NFL quarterback, a backup to Tom Brady. He's coached the position. He's won a Super Bowl as a coordinator, hails from Sean McVay's vaunted coaching tree and called plays on a division-winning Vikings team as a rookie head coach in 2022.

"It definitely helps to know a background of coaching different guys, different skill sets as a quarterback coach, as a coordinator and now as a head coach and play-caller," O'Connell said of his role in the process. "But I think it's still got to be a [team] process."

The Vikings have spent time getting to know the top prospects on and off the field and in the classroom. Adofo-Mensah said last week the Vikings have multiple quarterbacks they are "in love with." Monday, O'Connell hinted that he's not locked into any one particular skill set among the top prospects.

"I think there are a lot of ways to look at players with different strengths and make a pretty good projection that high-quality quarterback play could be in their future," he said. "But there are a lot of work and time and effort that has to go into it to hopefully get there."

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Meanwhile, O'Connell reported "a good turnout" for Monday's kickoff to the offseason program. One player not here is receiver Justin Jefferson, who has yet to sign a long-team deal, as is expected heading into the last year of his rookie contract. O'Connell said he's been communicating with the star receiver and is hopeful that he'll arrive at some point.

For now, Sam Darnold is the starting quarterback, which is perhaps temporary. It's also ironic as the Vikings try to trade up as high as the third overall pick. Darnold, of course, personifies the whole crapshoot nature of the NFL draft as a former third overall pick who, at 26, is on a one-year, prove-it deal with his fourth NFL team in seven years.