Vikings Predicted to Land Exciting Young QB Prospect

O'Connell, Cousins, Vikings

Getty Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell (left) and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

With five games left in the regular season, the Minnesota Vikings, at 6-6, appear poised to land in the middle of the draft — but that won’t make drafting a quarterback prospect out of question.

Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema projected the Vikings to land Oregon quarterback Bo Nix with the 21st overall pick in next year’s draft, making Nix the fourth quarterback off the draft board.

“Nix once again had a very impressive year as Oregon’s signal-caller. He finished the season with a 92.2 passing grade and an 87.3 passing grade under pressure, making only one turnover-worthy play under pressure all season,” Sikemma wrote. “While he brings NFL-caliber arm talent, his season was not as demanding as it was for others. His season average depth of target was below 7.0, and his percentage of total passing yards that came through the air was below 40%.”

A Heisman finalist, Nix fits the mold of what head coach Kevin O’Connell is looking for in a quarterback, possessing top-tier accuracy to execute a high-level offense brimming with talent.

A former NFL scout likened Nix to Kirk Cousins for his accuracy, while Nix also offers more mobility — the biggest knock on Cousins as a quarterback throughout his career.

Former NFL Scout Compares Oregon’s Bo Nix to Vikings QB Kirk Cousins


GettyBo Nix of the Oregon Ducks.

A fifth-year senior who raised his draft stock tremendously after transferring from Auburn to Oregon, Nix has catapulted himself into fringe first-round territory for next year’s draft.

Former New York Jets scout Daniel Kelly studied Nix’s 24 games with the Ducks and liked Nix for his accuracy and fast processing with the ball in his hands, both traits Cousins has used to go from a fourth-round prospect to a Pro Bowler.

“During the Pac-12 Championship Game, ESPN showed a Nix stat popped from the screen for me: an average release time of 2.5 seconds. By comparison, Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is at 2.51 seconds,” Kelly wrote. “Nix mentally processes quickly and knows where he’s going with the ball, which cuts down on sacks (only 10 sacks in the past two seasons).”

Nix posted the highest adjusted accuracy rate (84.6%) of any FBS quarterback, tied for the lead in passing touchdowns (40) and produced the second-most passing yards (4,145). His ball placement has also improved dramatically.

“Nix does a nice job of placing the ball where only his receivers have a chance for it. He threw seven interceptions in 2022 but cut that figure to three in 2023. Per my calculations from the game film, in 2022, he had 24 passes disrupted over 11 games (an average of 2.18 per game) to 17 disrupted passes in 13 games this season (1.30 per game),” Kelly wrote.

Kelly went on to praise Nix for his “uncanny short-to-intermediate accuracy (0-19 yards) while rolling out to his left or right.” Nix’s mobility allows him to turn broken plays into gains and keep the Vikings ahead of the chains.

If Nix’s processing and accuracy translate to the next level, the Cousins comparison represents a nice floor for the Vikings offense. The upside of mobility that Josh Dobbs has showcased would also offer more versatility.

Bo Nix’s Deep Ball Will Look Better With Vikings

New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings

GettyMinnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson making a catch in the endzone against the New York Jets.

While the critique of Nix’s lack of big-time throws and deep passes is valid, Oregon’s offense didn’t call for so many of those plays given the surrounding playmakers.

It’s a similar dynamic for the San Francisco 49ers, who look like the Super Bowl favorite with former seventh-round pick turned Most Valuable Player candidate Brock Purdy.

Purdy ranks outside the top 10 quarterbacks this season with only 13 big-time throws, but he does happen to be the most accurate quarterback on passes of 20 more yards (68.4%). Purdy has elite separators in his pass-catching core that allows him to capitalize when he does take those shots.

The Vikings could emulate just that with Nix, considering Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are among the league’s elite separators alongside receiving tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Nix has shown he can take care of the ball and deliver on time accurately — all the Vikings need to maximize the offense — with the upside of escaping pressure and making plays on the run.