The truth about the Vikings interest in drafting Justin Fields

The rumors about the Minnesota Vikings having an interest in selecting Justin Fields have picked up during the last few days.

Thanks to a video that was recently released by the Carolina Panthers, various rumors about who the Minnesota Vikings were interested in picking in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft have been swirling around for the last few days.

In a video posted by the Panthers last week, the team shared some behind-the-scenes footage from their draft war room. As Carolina was figuring out what to do with the No. 8 selection in the first round of the draft, they received a call from the Vikings.

A Panthers front office member shared that Minnesota offered a third (90) and a fourth-rounder (143) to move up from pick No. 14 to No. 8, but they were unwilling to include a 2022 first-round selection in their trade offer. Unsurprisingly, Carolina said no thanks.

Were the Minnesota Vikings trying to trade up to draft Justin Fields?

Shortly after the conclusion of this year’s draft, reports began to come out about the Vikings having an interest in selecting former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the first round.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reported that Minnesota “was prepared,” to draft Fields in the first round if he fell to them at pick No. 14, and the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling reported that the Vikings “made an effort,” to trade up and draft the former Ohio State passer.

Then on Sunday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio (a known Vikings fan) shared that Minnesota was “targeting,” Fields in their efforts to move up, citing a league source.

Judging by everything that has been reported about the situation, it’s completely fair to conclude that the Vikings had an interest in using this year’s first-round pick on FIelds. The actual degree of Minnesota’s interest is something that needs to be discussed further though.

Remember how the Vikings’ offer to move up that they sent to the Panthers didn’t include a 2022 first-rounder? Well, if Minnesota truly was “targeting” Fields and he was the one guy they had their eye on, then why weren’t they willing to do whatever it took to move up?

The truth is the Vikings had interest in picking the former Ohio State signal-caller, but he was just one of multiple prospects the team would have considered if they were able to move up in the first round.

In her report about Fields, Cronin also mentioned that Minnesota attempted to trade up in the first round to select former Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater. However, this doesn’t get talked about as much since it won’t produce a juicy headline about the Vikings “passing” on a top quarterback prospect.

In addition to Goessling reporting that Minnesota made an effort to trade up for Fields, he also shared that they weren’t going to “drop everything,” to move up and draft the passing prospect. This was made pretty clear with the Vikings’ low-ball offer to Carolina that was never going to be accepted.

As for Florio’s report, is it a coincidence that this came from someone who has been a gigantic critic of Kirk Cousins in the past, and from a guy who is still very salty about Minnesota choosing Cousins over Case Keenum in 2018? You can be the judge of that.

What can we take away from all of these reports? We know the Vikings had an interest in Fields, but he wasn’t the only player they were interested in trading up for, and the “effort” Minnesota made in their attempts to move up in the first round wasn’t very high.

So did the Vikings “pass” on the opportunity to draft Fields? Sure, you can go ahead and say that. But then you also have to say that they “passed” on Slater, Patrick Surtain II, DeVonta Smith, Kwity Paye, and all of the other prospects they could’ve tried to trade up to draft before selecting Christian Darrisaw with the No. 23 pick.