Potential 'immediate starter' lands with Vikings in notable 2024 mock draft

Former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Matt Miller has the Minnesota Vikings selecting former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

It has seemed like there's been a different young quarterback prospect linked to the Minnesota Vikings every week ever since Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury in the middle of the 2023 campaign.

This is likely due to the fact that the Vikings are pretty much at a crossroads this offseason when it comes to their quarterback group.

Cousins will be a free agent in March, and Minnesota re-signing him still seems to be a possibility. But even if the Vikings re-sign their longtime starter, most are assuming they will still use one of their first few selections in this year's NFL Draft on one of the top young quarterbacks.

ESPN's Matt Miller has Minnesota Vikings picking QB Michael Penix Jr. in second round of 2024 NFL Draft

In his latest 2024 mock draft that he shared on Monday, ESPN's Matt Miller predicted how the first 64 picks in the opening two rounds of this year's NFL Draft might turn out.

For Minnesota, Miller has them passing on quarterbacks J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix to select former Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner with the No. 11 pick in the first round.

Then, in the second round, Miller has the Vikings filling their need for a young signal-caller by having them pick former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the 42nd overall selection.

Here's what the ESPN draft analyst had to say about Penix landing with Minnesota in his latest mock draft.

"Penix has excellent arm strength and velocity, and as a pure passer, he's a first-rounder. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards in 2023 and helped lead Washington to the national title game. But [his] injury and durability questions push him to the Vikings.

Penix can be the quarterback-in-waiting if [Kirk Cousins] is re-signed, or the immediate starter if he is not."

The injury questions that Miller is referring to are based on the fact that, during his college career, Penix tore his ACL twice and suffered a pair of significant injuries to both of his shoulders.

Those are not small injuries by any means, but if the Vikings view Penix as a first-round talent like Miller does, then they might not want to pass on picking him if he's still available when they're on the clock in the second round.

Minnesota selecting Penix in the second round feels like something that would probably happen as a result of Cousins deciding to re-sign with the team in March.

If he doesn't return, the Vikings putting all of their eggs in one basket with a rookie quarterback who has a scary injury history seems like a gigantic risk.

As a franchise without a playoff win since 2019, however, it still might be a risk that Minnesota is willing to take.