SKOL Search: Who in the 2023 QB class could be the Vikings’ future?

The Minnesota Vikings are at the very beginning of the Kevin O’Connell era and things are looking bright for the future.

While the Vikings are ascending with a new regime, the rival Green Bay Packers are starting to flounder. After signing Aaron Rodgers to a three-year/$150 million extension this offseason, things are not looking great after seven games.

As we wrote about on Friday morning, the Vikings could potentially set themselves up for the next decade-plus if O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah are able to hit on the next franchise quarterback.

There will be a lot of debate if the Vikings could or should take one in this year’s draft, but there are a lot of options that the Vikings could take if they choose to. We identified 12 quarterbacks that could be the next franchise guy for the Minnesota Vikings if they take one in the upcoming draft.

Ohio State's C.J. Stroud

Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws the ball in the third quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.
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There hasn’t been a better quarterback in college football this season than Stroud. Of course, it helps that he has an incredible receiving corps in Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. One thing that Stroud does to maximize it is make NFL throws with pinpoint accuracy. He might out of range for the Vikings, but Stroud is the best quarterback prospect in this class.

Alabama's Bryce Young

Oct 22, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass against Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive end De’Monte Russell (9) during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Young is a relatively small quarterback. In fact, he will likely come in at 5010 and 195 pounds. One thing that helps Young overcome his size is his incredible ability to make plays. Young is an excellent playmaker that makes things happen when nothing is there. His arm strength is solid, but it’s not on an elite level. Young will likely be selected in the top five.

Tennessee's Hendon Hooker

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) runs past Florida safety Kamari Wilson (5) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 24, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn.
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Hooker is having a Heisman Trophy-caliber season but there will be some major questions about him in the draft process. Hooker had a lot of struggles prior to this season and at the age of 25, he is having an incredible season but he plays in a gimmicky offense. The offense is a lot of RPOs and runs at a blazing tempo that isn’t something you can duplicate in the NFL. He has the size, arm talent and running ability to thrive in the NFL, but those questions will have to be answered for him to be a first-round pick.

Kentucky's Will Levis

Oct 1, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels defensive end Jared Ivey (15) forces a fumble by Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) during the fourth quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Levis is going to be a divisive prospect this draft season. Some in the NFL have compared him to Josh Allen and, quite frankly, those comparisons are absurd. He currently runs the wide zone system at Kentucky and teams that also run that system will be intrigued by Levis and his strong arm. As of right now, I would have Levis around my fifth-best quarterback but a lot can change when I dive into the film.

Florida's Anthony Richardson

Sep 3, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) points after he scores a touchdown against the Utah Utes during the first quarter at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If there is any quarterback that deserves comparisons to Allen, it’s Richardson. He has the size, running ability and arm talent all in a similar way to the Buffalo Bills star quarterback. He also has no idea how to harness it in the same way Allen was at Wyoming. Once Richardson figures out his incredible gifts, he could be unstoppable. There is a chance that he doesn’t piece it together and he could be drafted anywhere from top five to the back end of the first round.

BYU's Jaren Hall

Oct 8, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) throws a pass against the Notre Dame Fighting during the first half Irish at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Hall will be 25 on draft day and that will be a big talking point with him like it is with Hooker. Unlike Hooker, Hall has played in a more translatable offense. He also has done a great job in dropping the ball in a bucket deep down the field.

Hall has had some consistency issues but the talent is there, as well as the off-platform throws that translate from his time as a baseball player.

Washington State's Cam Ward

Oct 27, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) throws a pass against the Utah Utes in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After transferring from FCS Incarnate Word this offseason, Ward has shown some struggles in transitioning to the speed of the FBS game. He does have all the tools you could want. He can make all the throws and run the football both when necessary and when schemed. When you watch Ward, he moves around in a similar way to Kyler Murray. The smart thing for Ward is to wait another year to come out, but the tools could have him come out this year.

Stanford's Tanner McKee

Oct 8, 2022; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee (18) throws a pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the second quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

McKee is built very similarly to his former teammate Davis Mills. A tall, lanky player, McKee has all the arm talent and very little mobility. He would have been a first-overall pick back in the 1990s. This year, how people view him will vary considerably, especially with Stanford’s struggles, but Mills’ success in the NFL could convince a team to take him in the first round.

Washington's Michael Penix Jr.

Oct 22, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass against the California Golden Bears during the third quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Penix Jr. has been incredible for the Huskies this season. He has thrown the ball all over the field with accuracy and success. He isn’t a runner, but he’s mobile and can make plays with his legs. The big question mark with Penix Jr. is that he has had four season-ending injuries, including two torn ACL’s.

Arkansas' K.J. Jefferson

Oct 1, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) runs in the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama won 49-26. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Jefferson is built like a prototypical quarterback: big, strong arm and has the ability to run the football with speed and power. Consistency is a major issue for Jefferson as well as accuracy and decision-making concerns. Jefferson would be best served staying in school one more season to get some consistency but he has developable tools.

Oregon's Bo Nix

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix celebrates a touchdown by tight end Cam McCormick as the Oregon Ducks take on the UCLA Bruins Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

There is zero chance that Nix ends up on a list like this at this point last season. A former five-star prospect, Nix has been incredibly inconsistent in his first three years. This season, he has become a borderline Heisman Trophy contender with 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions and has been dynamite as both a passer and a runner. There is still a lot of time left for Nix to revert back to his former self, but the talent is certainly there.

LSU's Jayden Daniels

Quarterback Jayden Daniels scores a touchdown as the LSU Tigers take on the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. Saturday October 22, 2022
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In a similar vein to Nix, Daniels had his share of struggles in his first three years in Tempe at Arizona State. Once he got settled in with LSU, Daniels has been on a different level. He has been a much-better passer and still a dynamite runner. The question with Daniels is simple. Was he this good the whole time but didn’t have the weapons or is the talent at LSU propping him up? Answer that and you know what you have with Daniels.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire