6 players the Vikings should have drafted instead of Irv Smith Jr.

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) A.J. Brown
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) A.J. Brown /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Gardner Minshew /

Gardner Minshew – QB

At this point in history, the Vikings were doing everything they could to make Kirk Cousins work. But one of the flaws about this is that they never brought in a quarterback that could be a developmental prospect.

Sure, the Vikings took Nate Stanley in the seventh round of the 2020 draft, but he was never a true backup option. Even when CFL alum Bo Levi Mitchell told the Vikings he wanted to compete for a starting job, the Vikings went with Sean Mannion.

It’s understandable the Vikings wouldn’t want to get a cheap quarterback when they had so much money invested in the starting position, but that would have led to a good avenue to take Gardner Minshew.

Using a second-round pick on Minshew would have triggered a firestorm about Cousins’ future, but it would have been a solid selection even if it came later in the draft. Minshew has shown to be a reliable backup during his career, and even if his main appeal is comic relief, he’s more serviceable than his counterpart Sean Mannion.

Is that more valuable than a tight end expected to be a weapon? Probably not. But when that weapon doesn’t pan out, taking the quarterback may have been a better choice.

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