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If Vikings move up in NFL Draft, what’s the plan at QB?

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The NFL Draft starts in a little more than three weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings have a pair of first-round picks – No. 11 and 23.

What the Vikings will do with those two selections is anyone’s guess, and there’s been all kinds of speculation. The popular thought is they’ll package the two, and possibly add another future draft pick, to move into the top-five of the draft for what they hope is a future franchise quarterback.

The Bears have the No. 1 pick and are likely taking USC quarterback Caleb Williams. The Washington Commanders have the No. 2 pick, followed by the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and L.A. Chargers. The Commanders likely take a quarterback, the Patriots are open to trading the No. 3 pick and the Cardinals and Chargers don’t need quarterbacks.

So if the Vikings move up into the top-five, they likely have their choice between J.J. McCarthy, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye. Which route do they go?

DRAKE MAYE – NORTH CAROLINA

Drake Maye was a Second Team All-ACC pick last season after throwing for more than 3,600 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 12 starts last year. That’s all mostly without his top receiver, who had an eligibility issue last season. Maye was the ACC Player of the Year in 2022, and was impressive at his Pro Day. He’s confident, and looks ready to run an NFL offense. With the help of Kevin O’Connell, he could be a great fit for the Vikings.

J.J. McCARTHY – MICHIGAN

There might not be a player who has gotten more buzz or whose NFL Draft stock has skyrocketed more in the last two weeks than Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy. But is it legitimate or a smoke screen for teams thinking they need to move up to get him? McCarthy just won a national title with the Wolverines, and was the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year as well as a First-Team All-Big Ten selection. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions in a pro-style offense that leaned on the run game. He can make every throw, but is he ready for NFL defenses? We don’t know, but he’s an attractive name.

JAYDEN DANIELS – LSU

Jayden Daniels won the Heisman Trophy with LSU this past season and is as much a threat with his legs as he is his arm. That combination of talent and athleticism is hard to pass on. He was fifth in the nation with 3,812 passing yards, second with 40 touchdowns and completed more than 72 percent of his passes. He’s also the only player in FBS history to throw for 12,000 yards and run for 3,000 in his career.

The Vikings either have had or will have private workouts with all three.

If the Vikings get one of these three, it’s hard to envision Sam Darnold being the Week 1 starter. It’s also possible Kwesi Adofo-Mensah keeps both picks, goes defense at No. 11 and gets either Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. at No. 23. Whatever the case, the next three weeks will be full of rumors and speculation.