April 29, 2021, could be remembered as a historic day for the Vikings and the NFC North.
Not because the Vikings chose offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
But because the balance of power in the division may be changing along with its quarterback hierarchy.
When the 2021 NFL season begins, the Vikings may finally have achieved their long-deferred dream of employing the best veteran quarterback in the North.
After 28 seasons of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers taunting the Vikings' quarterback instability, the Green Bay Packers may have succeeded in chasing off a second straight Hall of Fame quarterback.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers is trying to force a trade. So while the Packers spent Thursday afternoon trying to downplay the rift, saying they are committed to Rodgers, they can't say Rodgers is committed to them.
When the Packers ditched Favre, at least they had Rodgers ready to take over, although they didn't anticipate Favre maneuvering his way to the Vikings.
Rodgers remains offended enough by the Packers' drafting of a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 draft that he wants to leave the team that drafted and developed him. In other words, the Packers' brain trust made a deadly, egomaniacal mistake, and they may have elevated the Vikings to division champions five months before the season even begins.
Imagine this hierarchy in the NFC North:
The Vikings could have the best veteran quarterback, in Kirk Cousins.
The Chicago Bears have the best young quarterback, in Justin Fields, whom they traded up to draft on Thursday. What's strange about this is that the Bears essentially exist to make the Vikings feel better about their quarterback, but Fields could be excellent in a Bears offense that emphasizes quarterback mobility. Fields could wind up being the best value pick in the first round.
The Detroit Lions intentionally downgraded at quarterback when they traded Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff and draft picks.
And the Packers may have unintentionally sabotaged a championship-caliber team with their handling of Rodgers and drafting of Jordan Love.
Cousins might be finally paying off. By signing Cousins twice and overpaying him twice, the Vikings might wind up with the most stability at the position in the division. Last year, the Vikings had the third-best starting quarterback in the division. They upgraded without upgrading, thanks to the Packers and Lions.
The Vikings have the mismanagement of the other three teams in the division for this honor.
The Lions once again wasted the career of a talented skill-position player. Stafford, meet Barry Sanders, Herman Moore and Calvin Johnson.
The Packers just ran off one of the two best quarterbacks in the NFL after an MVP season, by drafting a backup quarterback and a backup running back with their first two picks in the 2020 draft.
Rick Spielman would like to know what he can do for the other three general managers in the division. Can he make a contribution to their favorite charity? Maybe send a bouquet? An edible arrangement that tastes strangely like crow?
Former Vikings draft boss Jerry Reichow once told me that, during the Bud Grant era, Grant would tell his staff of the old NFC Central, "Let's just hang around until everyone else screws up.''
That philosophy is alive and well today.
The conventional wisdom entering the draft was that the Vikings wanted one of the two top-rated offensive tackles — Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater. Sewell went to the Lions with the seventh pick, and Slater went to the Chargers at No. 13.
Spielman said the Vikings had targeted Darrisaw. Strangely, there is a chance that this is true.
He traded the 14th pick to the Jets and moved back to No. 23 in the first round, and the Jets took another offensive lineman — Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Darrisaw figures to be an immediate and quality starter, and Spielman can go after pass rushers and cornerbacks with his many remaining picks.
Darrisaw should do for Cousins what the Packers' brain trust hasn't done for Rodgers — make him feel comfortable.