Fateful Flight Leads to Vikings Signing Quarterback to Rookie Contract

Nate Stanley

Getty Nate Stanley ran into Vikings staff on a flight to the NFL Scouting Combine.

After an unprecedented offseason that has left many rookies and NFL players unsigned, yet committed to their teams, the Minnesota Vikings finally signed their first rookie this offseason in Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.

It was an encounter on the same flight with quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Klint and Gary Kubiak, respectively, to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis helped nurture his connection with the Vikings. He agreed with the Vikings’ Chris Corso that “he thinks he was meant to be a Viking.”

“It was really cool to just interact with them before everything started getting crazy in Indianapolis and hopefully I gave them a good first impression, which I think I did,” Stanley said on the Minnesota Vikings Podcast.

He also had the same offensive coordinator in his freshman year at Iowa that Gary Kubiak played for at Texas A&M in the 80s.

Stanley, a native of Menomonie Wisc., located an hour east of the Twin Cities metro area, started in 39 games over three seasons for the Hawkeyes, compiling a 27-12 record. His 39 starts ranked the fourth-most among active college quarterbacks. He’s been considered one of the biggest sleepers in the 2020 NFL Draft’s quarterback class.

Stanley was drafted in the seventh round and 244th overall. There are still 14 other drafted rookies and 12 undrafted rookies the Vikings are expected to sign if they do not make any cuts before training camp.

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Nate Stanley: Smart & ‘A Winner’

Kubiak called the 22-year-old rookie “a winner” in a recent press conference and explained that Stanely will likely fit in with the rest of the Vikings quarterbacks.

Here’s his take on Stanley:

As a coach, for (quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak) and I to go to work, he comes in our room with Kirk, Sean and Jake, he fits right in from a personality standpoint, from a winner in college standpoint, which all of those guys were. He’ll be a very quick study, is very bright, in what they’re doing.

(Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferentz), I know his program very well, I know how he teaches, I know what he expects of his players. The way they call things offensively is much like the way I run my offense, so I think we can make up a lot of ground with him. Very fortunate, you’re sitting there in the seventh round, a lot of people chasing him if he wasn’t going to get drafted. The fact that Rick had all of these extra picks late in the draft is the reason we end up with this young man.

Stanley had the highest score on the Wonderlic test (40) of any rookie quarterback drafted this season. The Wonderlic is a cognitive test that tests the decision-making of potential job candidates, including NFL players. Heismann Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow scored a 34, which is well above average.

Stanley’s Wonderlic metric is a good indicator of his ability to win games in college. He was 3-0 in bowl games and never lost to the Hawkeyes’ three biggest rivals, going 9-0 against Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa State.

He’ll compete for a roster spot when training camp begins July 28 with fellow backup quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Jake Browning.

READ NEXT: Meet the Next Brian Robison, a 260-Pound Vikings Rookie Who Can Backflip [WATCH]

Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire

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