Vikings Projected to Land Prized QB In 2021 NFL Draft

Trey Lance

Tim Sanger/NDSU Athletics A Vikings insider said he thinks the team would pull the trigger on Trey Lance at No. 14 overall.

The Vikings are among 10 winless teams entering Sunday’s Week 3 matchups as the “Tank for Trevor” sweepstakes have begun.

CBS Sports released its latest mock draft and, despite the Vikings’ miserable start to the season, writer Ryan Wilson sees some upside with the team.

Wilson sees a need for a quarterback of the future who could be groomed for a couple of years before Kirk Cousins contract expires, but instead of tanking and taking Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, he projected the Vikings would select Minnesota’s very own Trey Lance of North Dakota State at No. 12 overall in the mock draft.

Lance was the third quarterback taken in the draft as the Marshall, Minn., native was named the NCAA’s Division I Championship Game Most Outstanding Player award after leading the Bison to an undefeated season and FCS national championship as a redshirt freshman. The 6-foot-3, dual-threat QB completed 192 of 287 (66.9 percent) for 2,786 yards, 28 TDs and 0 interceptions through the air and also took 169 carries for 1,100 yards (6.5 average) and 14 TDs.

Lance’s fit in the Bison’s run-heavy offense could align with the Vikings zone-run scheme. Here’s Wilson’s take on why the Vikings should pick Lance:

Kirk Cousins has not looked good through two weeks (he finished with a 15.9 passer rating in the Week 2 loss to the Packers) and the Vikings young defense has a long way to go. And while Minnesota signed Cousins to an extension through the 2022 season, if they like Lance, who his long on physical tools but short on experience, they should draft him.

Lawrence landed with the Jets at No. 1 overall on Wilson’s draft board, while Ohio State’s Justin Fields was picked eighth by the Lions.

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Lance Has the Look of a Former No. 1 Overall Pick

Andrew Luck

GettyAn NFL analyst sees many similarities in Andrew Luck and Trey Lance’s game. analyst Daniel Jeremiah broke down what he saw in Lance’s film from the 2019 season. While Lance is raw and hasn’t faced the steepest of competition playing the FCS, Jeremiah thinks that Lance has the physical tools and, with some development, resembles former Colts No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.

When assessing quarterbacks, Jeremiah has a few categories he looks for, and Lance checked all the boxes. Here’s what Jeremiah saw in Lance:

Biggest takeaway: I was shocked at the maturity in Lance’s game. It’s uncommon to see a redshirt senior demonstrate this type of control and mastery of a system. Lance was a redshirt freshman! He does a wonderful job staying in the moment and executing. I didn’t expect to see such a polished player at this stage of his development.

He reminds me of: Andrew Luck. I know Luck is a little bit bigger, but they are similar athletes and they both played with a maturity beyond their age at the collegiate level. I remember watching Luck run over defenders. I also remember being so impressed with his ability to execute on key plays in every game. I see the same things when I study Lance. More than anything else, these are two guys who exude confidence on the field. They are fearless, but they avoid being reckless. That’s a very delicate balance. Luck was on his way to a Hall of Fame career before shocking the football world and retiring a year ago. I don’t have quite the same grade on Lance, but he could get there with continued growth and development.

Lance Could Be the Best QB out of NDSU

Carson Wentz

GettyCarson Wentz proved quality quarterbacks can come from the FCS and Lance could be the latest star from NDSU to make a splash in the NFL.

Lance’s only critiques are the division he plays in and lack of experience — although NDSU has developed a reputation as a quarterback factory amid its dominance at the FCS level.

The program’s past two starting quarterbacks have both been drafted in the NFL in the Eagles’ Carson Wentz, who has become an upper-tier starter when healthy, and Easton Stick who was drafted by the Chargers in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL draft.

Jeremiah thinks that, with development, Lance could be better than his predecessors in the NFL as he showed poise, accuracy, play-making, decision-making and toughness that’s rare to find in a redshirt freshman.

The Bison are currently scheduled to play this spring, and while their game against FBS powerhouse Oregon was canceled, Lance’s performance leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft on April 29 will be telling of his draft stock and whether he’ll declare himself eligible.