First thing’s first. Kirk Cousins will be the Minnesota Vikings‘ starting quarterback in 2021 barring a serious injury or seismic trade offer.
However, his backup since he arrived in Minnesota, Sean Mannion, has not been re-signed as it appears the Vikings are poised to replace Mannion with a younger quarterback who could develop under Cousins for the final two years of the veteran quarterback’s contract before taking the starting reigns.
Practice-squad arms Jake Browning and Nate Stanley are potential candidates, but the Vikings have been diligent in scouting several projected mid-round quarterbacks in the upcoming draft.
KSTP’s Darren Wolfson weighed in on Minnesota’s quarterback situation and said he “firmly believes” one of several middle-tier quarterbacks discussed on The Scoop podcast with former NFL quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan “is going to end up with the Vikings.”
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Arkansas & Northwestern QBs Join Expanding List of Virtual Meetings With Vikings
Minnesota currently has seven picks between the third and sixth rounds in the 2021 NFL Draft. The team has met with an expansive list of quarterbacks that Wolfson broke down with O’Sullivan.
After Rick Spielman’s historic 15-pick 2020 draft, Wolfson projected that Spielman will likely try to spin a few picks to move up in the draft.
“I firmly believed with having seven picks between (picks) No. 78 and No. 157 that the Vikings are going to draft a quarterback in those middle rounds,” Wolfson said. “I also believe the Vikings are going to move up.”
Kellen Mond appears to be the frontrunner among mid-tier quarterbacks. O’Sullivan projected Mond likely won’t be on the board by pick No. 78. Minnesota did send scouts to Mond’s pro day last month.
O’Sullivan maintained that all the middle-tier quarterbacks that the Vikings could have an eye on — Mond, Ian Buck (Notre Dame) and Kyle Trask (Florida) — are all developmental projects who, under the right direction, could become starting-caliber quarterbacks.
By Monday, O’Sullivan and Wolfson’s conversation had already dried up as reports that the team had met virtually with Northwestern’s Peyton Ramsey and Arkansas’ Feleipe Franks.
The QB work done by #Vikings was mentioned on my weekend podcast, is why I wanted to have J.T. O'Sullivan on. They've connected with many for virtual interviews. Former Florida and Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks is another, and Vikings QB coach was at his Pro Day. https://t.co/s16XBJTAaQ
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) April 12, 2021
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Positions Needing to be Addressed
Quarterback is a concern for the Vikings, however, Minnesota has other positions to address and drafting a quarterback in the first two rounds could prove to be an indication the team is not bullish on running the table in 2021.
Two offensive linemen are a must. Another edge rusher opposite of Danielle Hunter is a high priority for coach Mike Zimmer along with a safety to start alongside Harrison Smith in 2021. A third wide receiver remains a want that could catapult the offense to new terrain.
The Vikings have 10 picks in the upcoming draft and Spielman has proven a shrewdness at getting value late in the draft. He’ll need to have some confidence in his late-round targets to be willing to trade up in the draft, but it could pay dividends when considering the outlook on the franchise beyond 2022 when Cousins’ contract expires.
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