June 21, 2024

The Minnesota Vikings have a plethora of options to secure a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft’s first round. However, Judd Zulgad of SKOR North expressed concerns about potential pitfalls associated with the team’s flexibility.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Zulgad highlighted his main worries regarding how general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might navigate acquiring a franchise quarterback if the Vikings fail to trade up.

He emphasized that Minnesota shouldn’t sacrifice more than picks No. 11 and 23 this year, along with their 2025 first-rounder, to move up to No. 3 with the New England Patriots – likely the highest feasible spot for the Vikings in a trade scenario.

While expressing a preference for moving up, Zulgad warned against getting too clever with trading back. He specifically mentioned Michael Penix Jr., the Washington Huskies quarterback who led the NCAA in passing last season, as a potential target.

Zulgad cautioned against repeating past mistakes and emphasized the importance of sticking to their convictions. While he supported the idea of trading up to solve the quarterback problem, he expressed concern about potentially settling for lesser options if a move up isn’t feasible.

Despite his impressive achievements in 2023, such as reaching the National Title Game and finishing as the runner-up in Heisman Trophy voting, Michael Penix Jr. may not find himself selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.

According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., Penix is not projected to be picked in the first round in his latest mock draft. Additionally, Field Yates of ESPN predicts that the Las Vegas Raiders will trade up to the No. 36 spot with the Washington Commanders to secure Penix early in the second round.

The Minnesota Vikings no longer possess a second-round pick in the 2024 draft, having traded the No. 42 overall selection to the Houston Texans in exchange for the No. 23 pick later this month. Considering forecasts from Kiper, Yates, and other NFL analysts, Penix is expected to be the top remaining quarterback prospect by the middle of the first round, if not sooner.

Given the significance of the quarterback position in the league and the anticipated flurry of quarterback selections within or near the top 10 picks, Penix could potentially be chosen much earlier than his draft grade suggests.

Therefore, if the Vikings trade away their No. 23 pick in an effort to acquire other assets and miss out on the opportunity to draft Penix, they would miss a chance to secure one of the top six quarterback prospects in a draft class that is considered to have more quarterback talent than many others in recent years.

Raiders potential draftee Michael Penix Jr.

If Minnesota is unable to trade up for a quarterback and opts to retain picks No. 11 and 23, the team still has the potential for a strong draft.

The 11th pick should offer a pool of considerable talent in a draft class known for its depth across various positions. While the top prospects at quarterback and wide receiver may have already been selected, there should still be promising options available, particularly on the offensive line, at cornerback, and among pass-rushers.

Although passing on Michael Penix Jr. at No. 11 could be seen as a gamble, there’s a reasonable likelihood that he may still be on the board as the draft progresses into the early 20s.

In a worst-case scenario, the Vikings could consider selecting quarterback Spencer Rattler from South Carolina. Rattler possesses significant arm talent but may require the type of offensive system provided by Minnesota to maximize his potential for success in the NFL.

Dolphins' trade prediction sends QB Michael Penix to Raiders in NFL draft.

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