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Why was it so important for Vikings to trade for another 1st-round pick?

As I was applauding the Vikings for pretty much everything they did in the first few days of free agency, with the decision to let Kirk Cousins walk and sign with Atlanta rising to the top of that list of compliments, one nagging question was bugging me.

What if the Vikings can't draft a quarterback?

It's one thing to make it very clear you intend to draft a quarterback, which the move with Cousins and corresponding one-year deal for Sam Darnold signaled beyond a doubt. It's another thing to pull it off when you are choosing No. 11 and at least five teams drafting ahead of you — including the top three teams — are also in the market to draft a quarterback.

For the offseason to be truly praiseworthy — even earning the grudging admiration of Patrick Reusse, which we talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast — they cannot miss on adding a QB they truly want.

That's what made one of their final big moves of a frenzied week so important.

Adding the No. 23 pick via a trade for Houston — while giving up a pair of second-round picks in the process — does not guarantee they will be able to parlay their own No. 11 selection, No. 23 and perhaps some other combination of picks into a draft spot that ensures they will get that QB.

But it does serve notice that they aren't going to wait around to see how the draft board shakes out, and it gives them a jump start on further negotiations with other teams as they almost certainly now try to move further up the board.

Again, this is tricky. All three teams at the top of the draft need quarterbacks. Chicago will take Caleb Williams at No. 1. Washington will likely take Jayden Daniels at No. 2. The Patriots would be fools to trade the No. 3 pick, which they could use on QB Drake Maye (or Daniels if Washington takes Maye).

The Vikings could try to change New England's mind. Now they have two first-round picks this season, and if they packaged next year's first round pick with those two, that would figure to be enough to move to No. 3.

But if they also love Michigan's J.J. McCarthy, now they have the capital to move to No. 4 or 5 — Arizona or the Chargers — to ensure they get him. That's vital because beyond the top three teams, there's a chance that the Giants (No. 6), Jets (No. 10) and Broncos (right below the Vikings at No. 12) are interested in moving up and drafting a QB.

The worst-case scenario is still that the Giants decide they are ready to move on from Daniel Jones after 2024 when his dead money is palatable. If they love McCarthy, they could have the best assets to move up to No. 4 by using the No. 6 pick and future firsts. In that scenario, the Vikings could be shut out and have to pivot to either drafting someone like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix or perhaps waiting a year to pick a QB.

Waiting a year would basically put their rebuild on hold for a year. That would be close to a disaster. We don't know exactly how the Vikings feel about Penix or Nix, but we do know they won't pick a QB unless they think he's a franchise-caliber guy.

They have risked most of their offseason on a bet that they can draft a QB they truly want. Until they made the trade up to No. 23, that possibility felt a lot more risky.

Here are four more things to know today:

*Reusse and I also talked about 25 years ago and the bombshell report of academic fraud just before the start of the 1999 NCAA men's basketball tournament. It left a hole in the Gophers men's basketball program that informed how the last quarter-century played out.

*Want more on this year's NCAA tournament and the Gophers? Marcus Fuller is expected to join me on Tuesday's podcast to talk about the men's side, while Kent Youngblood should be on Wednesday to talk about the women's tourney.

*Anthony Edwards has been thriving lately. He'll get another chance Monday at Utah.

*Matt Wallner's spring training slump isn't cause for panic, but he could also use some hits after starting 2-for-29.