Why the Vikings (probably) won’t draft a QB in the first round this year
By Adam Patrick
Don’t expect the Minnesota Vikings to use their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on a young quarterback.
In 2020, Kirk Cousins threw for the second-most touchdowns and the third-most yards during a single season by a Minnesota Vikings quarterback in team history. Cousins accomplished this despite being in an offense that ranked 27th in the NFL in pass attempts last year.
In 2019, he threw for the second-most passing yards during a single season in Vikings history and he finished with the second-highest single-season passer rating in the history of the franchise. Cousins was able to do this with an offense that ranked even lower (30th) in pass attempts than they did in 2020.
Despite his accomplishments on the field since he joined the purple and gold in 2018, some believe it’s time for Minnesota to turn to the 2021 NFL Draft to find a replacement for their 32-year-old quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings drafting a quarterback in the first round this year doesn’t seem likely
Like many years in the recent past, the 2021 draft pool features a number of young passing prospects that some believe can evolve into franchise quarterbacks at some point in the near future.
This year’s group that features Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance all have the potential to be drafted with one of the first 10 selections in the first round.
With the No. 14 pick in the first round this year, some would like to see the Vikings trade up in the first round in an attempt to land one of these passing prospects. Despite Minnesota’s defense coming off a terrible performance in 2020 and the team’s offensive line still being a continuous problem, some still think the team should use their top draft selection on a new quarterback.
The biggest problem with this is that the Vikings’ current regime is not in a position to spend their current draft assets on a young signal-caller who might not make his first start until 2023.
Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman are running out of time to deliver the franchise its first-ever Super Bowl win. So they will likely be placing a heavy emphasis on finding prospects that can make an immediate impact this year instead of guys that fall more into the category of being labeled a “project”.
It would also take much more than the Vikings are probably willing to part with in order to move up in this year’s draft to a spot where they have a better chance to land one of the top four quarterbacks.
The San Francisco 49ers just traded away three first-round picks and a third-round selection to move from pick No. 12 to No. 3 in the upcoming 2021 draft. It feels extremely unlikely that Minnesota’s decision-makers would be okay with giving up this much draft capital to select a passer who might not make his first career start until after the team potentially has a new head coach and general manager.
Lastly, quarterback just isn’t even close to being a top need for the Vikings right now. Cousins is currently their best option and he’s coming off of one of the greatest statistical seasons by a passer in franchise history.
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Could Minnesota still end up selecting a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft? Of course, they could. Just don’t expect a move like this to take place in the first round.