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Bleacher Report – Vikings

This year’s draft class offers layer of intrigue to Vikings’ QB decision

By Matthew Coller

At the NFL Combine, it seems there is a different rumor surrounding the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation every day. But the one potential outcome that has not been discussed is the possibility of the Vikings drafting a quarterback.

By the time the draft rolls around, we’ll know whether the Vikings could be in the mix to pick a QB. If they sign Kirk Cousins, it becomes very unlikely that they would select a QB in the first round. But if the Vikings bring back Case Keenum, Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater or trade for Nick Foles or sign AJ McCarron etc., then the door could be open because of this year’s deep class.

There are five QBs who have the potential to be selected in the first round: Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson.

Look through the recent history of the draft and you will find plenty of precedent – and some success – from unlikely teams drafting quarterbacks.

Last year, Kansas City traded the No. 27 overall pick, a third-round pick and their 2018 first-round selection to the Buffalo Bills to move up to No. 10 to select Pat Mahomes. They were impressed enough with him after one year as the backup to trade Alex Smith this offseason.

You might remember the surprise from Packers fans when they picked Aaron Rodgers in the first round or the poor grades the Seahawks were given by selecting Russell Wilson after adding Matt Flynn in the offseason. Sam Bradford’s camp wasn’t happy when the Eagles moved up to draft Carson Wentz in 2016. And the Patriots grabbed Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 draft.

So there’s no counting out the chance that the Vikings could move up to pick the QB of the future.

On Saturday, the quarterbacks threw at the Combine.

It appears Allen, who has questionable numbers and some issues with accuracy, upped his stock significantly.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks wrote:

“While it is important to keep a T-shirts-and-shorts workout in perspective, this stellar outing from Allen will prompt some scouts to view the Wyoming product as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the class, based on his physical dimensions and his limitless potential.”

Even with his strong day, there is still a chance that teams see the other QBs as better. Jackson and Darnold (who is rated No. 1 by Scouts Inc.) both have reason to be taken at the top and reason to fall.

Darnold decided not to throw at the Combine.

Cleveland.com wrote a piece detailing some of the concerns about the USC quarterback:

Cosell said his film study reveals Darnold “missed too many routine throws.” Cosell also thought Darnold needed to “retool some of his lower body mechanics.”

Keep in mind, Darnold is only 20. He played only two years at USC.

“He can make plays out of structure,” said Cosell. “He’s exciting and tantalizing.” But Cosell said he would not consider Darnold “a can’t miss prospect.”

Jackson hasn’t had a particularly good Combine. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner’s throwing session included ups and downs. Brooks wrote:

Part of his accuracy issues can be attributed to his inconsistent footwork and base, which remain a concern after watching him work out in Indy. Jackson needs to continue to refine his game as a passer to become a proficient QB who is capable of shredding defenses from the pocket. Without a strong athletic performance to offset his passing issues, Jackson missed out on a chance to show the football world how he could impact the game as an explosive dual-threat playmaker.

However, it does appear that teams are coming away impressed by Jackson’s personality.

“A truly special person,” one team executive who interviewed Jackson told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman. “Wow’d everyone in the interview. I’d feel comfortable turning over the team to him.”

UCLA’s star QB Josh Rosen struggled at times during his throwing session, prompting Brooks to write that he “failed to play up to expectations.” He might be the locked-in top pick if not for some worries about his football character. ESPN’s Todd McShay wrote:

I’ve heard mixed reviews on Rosen’s interviews and ultimately that will be key to where he lands. He needs a coaching staff that can challenge him mentally and help him continue to develop his leadership skills.

Mayfield comes along with some character issues as well. An arrest in college combined with some worrying that he’s overly confident might cause some teams to pause. During his Combine podium session, Mayfield flashed a bit of his confidence in campaigning for the Browns to pick him. He said:

“I would love (to be drafted by the Browns). First things first, they’d get a winner. I think if anybody’s gonna turn that franchise around, it’d be me. I’d be able to put it in the right direction. They’re close. They’re very close. They have the right pieces. I think they just need one guy at quarterback to make that difference.”

With the sheer number of strong prospects at other positions, it stands to reason that at least one of the top five QBs will be available by the middle of the first round – where the Vikings could reasonably trade up.

Whether they would consider doing so will depend largely on what happens in free agency. Not only will the Vikings be looking to sign Cousins, they could also fill needs on the offensive line and defensive line through the open market rather than the draft. If they signed players like Andrew Norwell and Sheldon Richardson, QB would be in play.

And if it seems risky to be in a situation where a rookie could end up as the starter, there is recent precedent for some success with Dak Prescott leading a 13-3 Cowboys team and DeShaun Watson putting the Texans in the mix before a season-ending ACL injury.

Of course, QB should not be the only option for the Vikings. There will be a large number of teams thinking about making moves to pick one of the top five and the VIkings are in position to compete for the Super Bowl this year, making it too risky to hope a rookie would be able to step in and succeed.

The post This year’s draft class offers layer of intrigue to Vikings’ QB decision appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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