5. Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 218 pounds
2023 Passing Stats: 2,945 yards, 24 TD, 6 INT, 69 completion percentage
Michael Penix Jr. feels like the Hendon Hooker of this year’s class, but after overcoming several knee injuries, the 23-year-old has hit his stride with the Huskies.
Penix’s career started with Indiana in 2018, where he suffered his first knee injury that October. He suffered another knee injury in 2019 and another injury in 2020 before getting hurt again in October of 2021. It wasn’t until Penix transferred to Washington in 2022 that he hit his stride, throwing for 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, and has parlayed that momentum into becoming a Heisman candidate this season.
Penix has plenty of experience with the college game and has a great arm to go with it but would be a perfect project if the Vikings wanted to keep Cousins and let Penix develop behind him.
In fact, Pennix is at the top of a tier of project QBs such as Duke’s Riley Leonard, Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders, and Tulane’s Michael Pratt, who could be candidates to learn behind Cousins if they enter this year’s draft.
With several options to choose from, it will be interesting to see which way the Vikings could go and how it shapes their future.