Vikings Warned Not to ‘Get Cute,’ Trade Back for NCAA Passing Leader

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have a host of options to nab a quarterback in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, but serious potential pitfalls come with all that flexibility.

Judd Zulgad of SKOR North addressed his primary concerns about how general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might approach locking down a franchise signal-caller if the Vikings aren’t able to trade up.

Zulgad first noted that Minnesota shouldn’t surrender more than pick Nos. 11 and 23 this year and its 2025 first-rounder to move up to No. 3 with the New England Patriots — the highest the Vikings are likely going to be able to get in the draft order via a trade.

“First of all, I want them, I would like them, and I think their first choice is to move up,” he said. “Who knows? There’s a lot of things that can go wrong.”

Zulgad then moved onto the topic of Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who led the NCAA in passing last season with 4,903 yards.

If Penix is [Kevin] O’Connell’s guy, I don’t want them to move back. I’m more concerned … about them, as I phrase it, trying to get cute and move back. And now you’re repeating some of the same mistakes that [Adofo-Mensah] has before. The [Jordan] Addison pick turned out to be a good pick, in part because you stood pat and took the guy you believe in.

I am all for them trading up and solving this problem … but my angst is more, ‘Oh, we didn’t get a quarterback. Now let’s let Kwesi cook.’ Let’s just recall that there have been times where the meal has been burned.

Michael Penix Jr. Doesn’t Have 1st-Round Grade, but Vikings Should Perhaps Select Him There Anyways

Raiders potential draftee Michael Penix Jr.

GettyWashington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Despite his great success in 2023, which included a National Title Game appearance and finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting, Penix may not end up a first-round pick.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. doesn’t have Penix coming off the board in the first round of his most recent mock draft, while Field Yates of ESPN has the Las Vegas Raiders trading up to the No. 36 spot with the Washington Commanders to select Penix early in the second round.

Minnesota no longer holds the rights to a second-round pick in 2024 after including the No. 42 overall selection in a trade with the Houston Texans that landed the Vikings the No. 23 pick later this month. Based on projections from Kiper, Yates and several other NFL analysts, Penix is going to be the best QB prospect remaining on the board by the middle of the first round, if not sooner.

Because of the importance of the position across the league and the huge run on signal-callers that most draft experts are predicting inside/around the top 10, Penix could garner a selection considerably higher than his grade suggests.

As such, if the Vikings trade off of No. 23 in an attempt to acquire another asset and miss out on the chance to select Penix, they will have squandered an opportunity to grab one of the top six prospects at the position in a draft class with more QB talent than most others in recent memory.

Vikings Can Build Quality Draft Class by Selecting Michael Penix Jr. Alongside Second Blue Chip Player in 1st Round

Dolphins' trade prediction sends QB Michael Penix to Raiders in NFL draft.

GettyWashington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

If Minnesota can’t trade up for a quarterback and hangs onto pick Nos. 11 and 23, the franchise can still have a superb draft.

There should be considerable talent available at the 11th spot in a class that offers significant depth at several positions. The top of the QB and WR positions will already have been picked relatively clean, but potential stars on the offensive line and at the cornerback and pass-rusher spots should still be available.

Minnesota would perhaps be taking a risk by not drafting Penix at No. 11, though there is a reasonable chance the quarterback will remain on the board through the early 20s.

If all else fails, the Vikings can take a flier on QB Spencer Rattler of South Carolina, who has big-time arm talent but needs the kind of offensive system Minnesota provides to have a good chance at meaningful success in the NFL.

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