The Minnesota Vikings don't have to look any further than their NFC North division rival Green Bay Packers to know what message is sent when a team selects a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In the 2020 draft, the Packers raised eyebrows around the football world when they chose QB Jordan Love in the first round. It was viewed as a sign that the Packers were preparing to move on from veteran QB Aaron Rodgers. Even if the transition from the future Hall of Famer to the rookie Love wouldn't happen right away, using a valuable first-round pick on a quarterback indicated that Green Bay was already looking ahead to a future without Rodgers.
The Minnesota Vikings have an established veteran starting quarterback. And while Kirk Cousins is not an all-time great like Rodgers, he is one of the highest-paid players in the NFL and has had some success getting the Vikings to advance in the playoffs.
This season, however, Cousins isn't looking like he can lead the Minnesota Vikings to the postseason. And rumors have started flying that the Vikings will consider taking a quarterback -- Cousins' replacement -- with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Minnesota Vikings have talent all over the football field.
Dalvin Cook may or may not be the best running back in the NFL right now, but he's definitely playing better than any other back. The Minnesota Vikings' go-to guy rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Detroit Lions, after gaining 226 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns against the Packers the previous week.
Justin Jefferson is making the strongest case of any non-quarterback to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year; the wide receiver out of LSU has outshined all of the wideouts taken ahead of him in the draft on his way to compiling 627 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Veteran receiver Adam Thielen is a two-time Pro Bowler.
While the defense ranks among the bottom-feeders of the NFL, the Vikings have enough talent at the skill positions to make up for it with a dynamic offense -- but Cousins is often viewed as the element that is holding back a Minnesota Vikings team that is 3-5 this season.
NFL Draft Rumors: Would the Minnesota Vikings look to replace Kirk Cousins in the draft?
Thanks to the winless New York Jets, the almost-winless Jacksonville Jaguars, and a couple other teams in worse shape, the Minnesota Vikings probably won't get a high enough draft pick to land Clemson's Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State's Justin Fields -- the top two QB prospects in the draft who should go in the top five picks.
The Minnesota Vikings will more likely be picking in the range where they'll have to consider one of the second-tier QB prospects.
In that range, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is a name that's been linked to the Minnesota Vikings.
The 6-foot-3 junior Wilson has led BYU to an 8-0 record this season and a No. 8 ranking nationally. He's thrown for 2,512 yards and 22 touchdowns against just two interceptions. In every game but one this season, the Cougars have scored over 40 points. Wilson has thrown at least two TD passes in every BYU game.
The biggest knock on Wilson has been his level of competition. BYU is a football independent, but unlike Notre Dame, they and don't routinely face teams from powerhouse conferences like the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12.
But there are QBs in the NFL today who are thriving despite having come from smaller colleges.
Josh Allen went to Wyoming, and he's hovering around the league MVP conversation with the Buffalo Bills. Derek Carr went to Fresno State and has made three Pro Bowls with the Las Vegas Raiders. Ben Roethlisberger went to Miami (Ohio) and is a two-time Super Bowl winner who has the Pittsburgh Steelers undefeated right now.
Kirk Cousins has two years left on a contract that will pay him about $33 million per year, so it could be hard for the Minnesota Vikings to find a trade partner for him if they're ready to move on.
Whether it happens sooner or later, taking a QB like Zach Wilson in next year's draft will at least give the Minnesota Vikings an idea of which direction they're headed in the future.Published 13 Nov 2020, 06:06 IST