Apr 24, 2024 - Sports

Minnesota Vikings' quest for a new quarterback culminates at NFL Draft

Drake Maye, JJ McCarthy, Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr.

(From left: Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix, and Michael Penix Jr. Photos: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Ryan Kang/Getty Images; Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Thursday's NFL draft will be must-see TV for Vikings fans.

Why it matters: The draft is a spectacle, with 54 million viewers last year, and the Vikings are at the center of this year's drama as they desperately search for a quarterback of the future.

Catch up fast: After six seasons in purple, Kirk Cousins departed Minnesota and signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Instead of paying Cousins a king's ransom to stay, the team is turning to what many experts consider an excellent class of available QBs in the draft.

State of play: There are three or four passers widely believed to go in the first ten picks, and the Vikings hold selections No. 11 and 23.

  • Two of the top QB prospects β€” Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels β€” will likely be gone before the Vikings have a shot.

Three possible scenarios:

  1. Local and national pundits believe the Vikings have their sights set on North Carolina QB Drake Maye because of his similarities to Matthew Stafford, a QB Kevin O'Connell coached before coming to Minnesota.
    • Yes, but: To get him, the Vikings might have to secure a top 3 pick, perhaps by giving New England at least two first-round picks this year, and probably another next year.

2. Michigan's J.J. McCarthy is another potential fit, but it's not clear how much β€” if it all β€” Minnesota would have to move up to get him from pick No. 11.

3. If they miss out on Maye and McCarthy, the Vikings have two other well-regarded prospects in Oregon's Bo Nix and Washington's Michael Penix, Jr. They might still be available at No. 23.

Threat level: If the team fails to pick any of the six top QB prospects, fans at the team's U.S. Bank Stadium draft party might riot.

What else we're watching: Totino-Grace alum Joe Alt, who played tackle for Notre Dame, has a good chance of joining Trey Lance (No. 3 in 2021) and Larry Fitzgerald (No. 3 in 2004) as the only Minnesota natives to be taken in the first 10 picks of an NFL draft in the last 20 years.

How to watch: The show starts at 7pm Thursday on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and NFL Network.

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