MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings are in offseason mode, and all is quiet for now.
That will change by the end of this month, as Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will be among many at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. By late February or early March, we should have a much more clear idea on if Kirk Cousins will stay in Minnesota, or get paid elsewhere in free agency.
There also exists the reality that Adofo-Mensah has to look beyond Cousins to find his next franchise quarterback, and do so soon if not now. The Vikings, after a 7-10 season, have the No. 11 pick in the NFL Draft. Will they stay there? Will they move up? Here are four quarterbacks in the draft that could end up in Minnesota.
If the Vikings get Drake Maye, they’ll have moved up in the draft to do so. The former North Carolina star is considered one of the top-three quarterbacks in the NFL Draft. He had 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season after throwing for 38 touchdowns in 2022. He also ran for more than 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns with the Tar Heels.
If Maye ends up in Minnesota, the Vikings will have moved on from Cousins and he’d very likely be the starter in 2024.
Similar to Maye, if the Vikings were to get Jayden Daniels, they’ll have moved up from No. 11 in the draft and he’d likely be the Day 1 starter in Minnesota for 2024. The former LSU star won the Heisman Trophy this season, throwing for 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also ran for more than 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback could give the Vikings a dynamic athlete at the most important position on the field.
J.J. McCarthy is coming off leading Michigan to a College Football Playoff national title. If the Viking get him in the NFL Draft, they likely bring Cousins back in free agency and groom McCarthy to be the starter after his contract is done. McCarthy is a winner, throwing for 49 career touchdowns at Michigan and running for another 10. He threw for 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, in an offense where the Wolverines prefer to run the ball.
Michael Penix Jr. is another scenario where if he came to Minnesota, he likely learns on the job with Cousins back as the starter. Penix started his college career at Indiana before transferring to Washington two years ago. He led the Huskies to the national title game this year, and led the nation with more than 4,900 passing yards this season. In two seasons at Washington, he threw for more than 9,500 yards, 67 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The lefty is explosive, but there are questions on if his game will translate to the NFL.
Don’t forget about Bo Nix, who started his career at Auburn before transferring to Oregon. He had 113 career passing touchdowns and just 26 interceptions, and ran for 38 more scores between the Tigers and Ducks.
Talking about the future is great, but we don’t know anything until the Vikings have finality on Cousins.