There is a strong possibility the Minnesota Vikings could draft a quarterback in the first round.
Though they are not expected to do so, there is a chance the Minnesota Vikings end up taking a quarterback with their first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky brought up an interesting point on Twitter Saturday morning. In recent years, teams like the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs, the 2018 Buffalo Bills and the 2020 Green Bay Packers have “shockingly” moved up to draft a potential franchise quarterback. He lists three teams who could be “that” team this year: The Vikings, the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.
If the Vikings do take a first-round quarterback, who is the player they need to actively pursue?
The Minnesota Vikings should target Trey Lance if they do pursue a quarterback
As it stands now, the Vikings have the No. 14 pick in the upcoming draft. If they stand pat at No. 14, there is a chance one of three first-round quarterbacks could fall to them at that selection: Alabama’s Mac Jones, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Though any of the three would be worth pursuing, here is why the guy the Vikings should target is Lance.
Minnesota already has a Pro Bowl-level quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who is under contract for the next two seasons at $66 million. Though he has been a stabilizing force under center for the Vikings the last few years, he is what he is. While Jones is the most pro-ready of the three draft prospects, his NFL prototype is Cousins. It does not make a lot of sense to draft an exact replica.
As for Fields, he offers a ton of upside but may be ready to play right away, depending on what team he goes to. He could go as high as No. 3 to the San Francisco 49ers or fall as far as the New England Patriots picking at No. 15. While he is worth trading up for, Lance better aligns with the Vikings’ overall competitive life cycle much more effortlessly than Fields ever would. Here is why.
Lance has the least amount of in-game experience of the five first-round quarterbacks. Even though he took home the Walter Payton in his redshirt freshman season at North Dakota State, that was really the only meaningful playing time he got for the Bison up in Fargo. He can back up Cousins for a year or two before taking the reins as the Vikings starter in 2022, or likely 2023.
Not only does Lance offer the most amount of upside of any quarterback in this draft, he is also a native Minnesotan. That will play very, very well for the Vikings fanbase, as Minnesota will almost certainly have to trade up to get him inside of the top 10. If we are looking at trade partners, why not call up former Vikings front office executive George Paton, who is running the Denver Broncos?
Yes, Denver could be targeting Lance as well at No. 9, but they still may have interest in seeing what Drew Lock can do in year three out of Missouri. Paton knows he needs more than a developmental quarterback to get this thing turned around in Denver, so adding future draft capital could be a pillar for this trade being made. There is one other reason it has to be for Lance.
Entering 2021, Mike Zimmer is one of eight or so head coaches who may be on the hot seat. If the Vikings flounder and ownership wants to make a move at head coach, they might have the best head-coaching vacancy of any post available. Since Lance may be the next Josh Allen, this would be a fantastic landing spot for top 2021 candidate, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
If the Vikings do take a first-round quarterback, do not be shocked if the guy they pick is Lance.