Latest On Vikings’ Draft Plans

Armed with two first-round picks, the Vikings are a team worth watching in the build-up to next month’s draft. Minnesota is a strong candidate for a move up the board to land a quarterback, although the presence of Sam Darnold means the position could be a priority after Day 1.

[RELATED: Vikings Among Teams Set To Host Jayden Daniels]

The Vikings made a deal with the Texans to add pick No. 23 earlier this month, giving the team that selection along with their own 11th pick. Minnesota thus has the capital to move into the top five, and in the wake of the trade a report quickly emerged pointing to a deal with Arizona (which owns the fourth selection) being in play. Both the Cardinals and Chargers (No. 5) are open to trading down.

With that in mind, ESPN’s Matt Miller notes the expectation around the league remains that Minnesota will trade into the top five. Specifically, many point to J.J. McCarthy being the target of that move, although the matter of whether he will be on the board after No. 3 is in the air. The Michigan product has seen his stock consistently rise over the past few weeks, and he may have worked his way into consideration for the second overall pick.

Neither head coach Kevin O’Connell nor general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah attended the Wolverines’ Pro Day (although QBs coach Josh McCown was part of the large contingent of NFL evaluators present). As Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, however, Minnesota’s preference is to host quarterback prospects on private workouts, something which holds true of other teams as well. The team’s evaluation of McCarthy, Daniels and whichever other passers are brought in will determine much of their plans ahead of the draft.

Darnold is in place on a one-year, $10MM deal. The former No. 3 pick is thus in place to serve as the Vikings’ short-term Kirk Cousins replacement, but a long-term investment via the draft would be a reasonable approach. As could be expected this time of year, though, Adofo-Mensah has not confirmed the chances of a trade-up being executed or a signal-caller even being a Round 1 target.

“We just thought that [the Texans trade] gave us the best flexibility for whatever can happen,” Adofo-Mensah recently said, via Miller’s colleague Kevin Seifert“Ultimately team building isn’t this one-size-fits-all exercise. There are ways you can build a championship team with certain types of quarterbacks, certain types of players around them and we’re trying to set ourselves up to be one of those and ultimately be in that last game which we’re trying to be in.”

Aside from Caleb Williams remaining on track to join the Bears in April, plenty is uncertain at the top of the board for the time being. Minnesota represents an X-factor at the QB spot, especially if the team makes a substantial move up the order. The Vikings’ evaluations of the top prospects over the coming days and weeks will be a key storyline to follow.

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