Ex-Vikings GM Suggests Team Take Flier on Former 5-Star QB With Huge Arm

spencer rattler

Getty Former South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler.

The Minnesota Vikings are motivated and have a good chance to trade up for a top QB prospect in the NFL draft, but there remains a reasonable chance those efforts will fail.

Should that happen, or even if Minnesota lands its man somewhere in the top five, the front office might consider taking a flier on a signal-caller with high upside in the later rounds. Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman suggested quarterback Spencer Rattler, formerly of Oklahoma and South Carolina, as a player who might be worth the pick.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports hosted a mailbag with Spielman on March 25 and fielded a question about Rattler’s potential to become a franchise quarterback in the right system. Wilson suggested a team like the San Francisco 49ers, who could coach Rattler up for a couple of years behind Brock Purdy if the team doesn’t envision extending the former 7th-round pick on a massive multiyear contract ahead of his free agency in March 2026.

“Anyone coming out of that [offensive] system would be the best, whether it’s the Rams or whether it’s the 49ers,” Spielman said. “I would say even Minnesota.”

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell served as the offensive coordinator under Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay when the franchise won the Super Bowl following the 2021 campaign.

“I don’t know if Brock Purdy would be Brock Purdy if he wasn’t in San Francisco. They have to be in the right system, in the right fight, in the right coaching,” Spielman continued, before noting Rattler’s history of struggles making late-game decisions. “If [Rattler] does get in that right area, then I think he has a chance, because there’s no question about the throwing and everything like that. It’s just if he’s not in the right situation, he’s gonna fail.”

Vikings in Similar Situation as 49ers in 2021, When SF Traded Up for Trey Lance & Drafted QB Brock Purdy

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

GettyHead coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

Wilson’s suggestion of the 49ers, which led Spielman to mention the Vikings, is interesting given how Purdy came to lead the team.

San Francisco traded three first-round picks, and then some, to the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 in the 2021 draft and select quarterback Trey Lance. The team also drafted Purdy that year as an afterthought with the very last selection in the last round.

Jimmy Garoppolo started for the majority of Lance’s and Purdy’s rookie year. Lance took the reins to begin his sophomore season but was severely injured in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears and sat for the remainder of the season. Garoppolo stepped back in but suffered an injury himself later in the year.

Purdy eventually took over and never surrendered the starting job. Now Garoppolo and Lance are both playing in non-starting roles elsewhere, while Purdy was a frontrunner in the 2023 MVP race until a four-interception performance in a Week-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens one day after Christmas.

The Vikings traded with the Houston Texans for the No. 23 overall pick, which they will presumably package with their No. 11 selection in an attempt to move up. If the team tries to go all the way to No. 3 with the New England Patriots, Minnesota will probably need to throw in its 2025 first-rounder as well.

That play may work out swimmingly, or the team may find that prospective 2024 starter Sam Darnold is their best option next season and moving forward. A safety play for the Vikings could be to add Rattler — or a QB like him — later in the draft and let O’Connell go to work developing him.

QB Spencer Rattler Described as ‘Arm Talent Personified’

GettyQuarterback Spencer Rattler, formerly of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Rattler is 23 years old and was a five-star recruit coming out of high school when he headed to Oklahoma.

Unfortunately for Rattler, he didn’t live up to that hype and ended up transferring out of Oklahoma and to South Carolina in 2022. After five years in college, Rattler has made himself draft-eligible and has some legitimate upside.

The Bleacher Report NFL Scouting Department described Rattler as “arm talent personified.”

“He plays with a loose, snappy throwing motion and finds ways to get the ball out cleanly and powerfully regardless of his throwing platform,” Bleacher Report wrote. “Better yet, Rattler throws with a ton of velocity and a surprising dose of control. He can add or take off zip as needed, and he can put proper arc under the ball to access all three levels of the field. Rattler can bomb it deep just as well as he can lay in a feathery corner route. His arm talent and elasticity is eerily similar to that of Caleb Williams.”

However, Rattler is meaningfully undersized at 6-feet tall and 211 pounds. His athletic metrics were below average for the position and BR scouts noted aggressive tendencies that can deteriorate into recklessness.

That said, they offered Rattler a third-round grade and dubbed the QB a “high-level backup/potential starter” at the NFL level, offering the player comp of a “short Jay Cutler.” Rattler finished his last collegiate season at South Carolina with 3,186 passing yards, 19 TDs and 8 INTs.

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