The Vikings have chosen only two quarterbacks in the past 10 drafts, a low number compared with most NFL teams. Should Minnesota change that trend in this year’s draft, which starts Thursday?
First take: Michael Rand
The quick-twitch answer is “no,” given that the durable Kirk Cousins is under contract for two more seasons on a hefty guaranteed contract.
But there is something to be said for drafting and developing quarterbacks when you aren’t desperate for one — counter to how the Vikings have operated in the past decade, when they’ve spent first-round picks on Christian Ponder (2011) and Teddy Bridgewater (2014).
There is both short-term and long-term value to be found.
Let’s say the Vikings found a QB they liked in the third round (No. 81 overall) of this year’s draft. That player would be due $3.6 million over the course of a four-year contract. That player would be a decent bet to be good enough to serve as a backup to Cousins either this year or next year. And if that player proves to be a diamond in the rough, he could even be considered as Cousins’ long-term replacement.
Chip Scoggins, columnist: I actually like the idea of drafting a quarterback. Not with one of their first few picks because they have more obvious needs on a roster that is in win-now mode.
But draft-and-develop is always the preferred path in building a team and that should be the focus at quarterback, too, even with Kirk Cousins signed for two more years.
Cousins is their quarterback of the present, but we don’t know if his tenure is going fulfill the vision that the organization had in signing him to his historic contract. Cousins’ debut season certainly didn’t answer the question about whether he will be here long term. So it would be wise to find a young quarterback who can sit and learn for a few years as a potential future Plan B if Cousins’ stay only lasts three years.
Rand: Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t pick one in the first two rounds. Third round? I could be convinced. Maybe it’s a year too early, but that’s better than a year (or three) too late, which has tended to happen in the past.
The Vikings already have 10 players with cap figures of more than $10 million in the 2021 season — the first year after Cousins’ contract expires. Some of those guys will get restructured or cut before then, but a lot of them are core players who figure to factor into any future success the Vikings might have.
The way the Vikings structured extensions for guys like Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Adam Thielen with bigger cap hits in the future suggests they might be in the market for a cheaper starting quarterback down the road.
Scoggins: I don’t worry as much about salary-cap implications because Rob Brzezinski is a magician when it comes to making the numbers work.
But that position has become such a crapshoot that it’s wise organizational strategy to have young quarterback(s) on the roster with the idea that one might develop into the quarterback of the future, even if you have an established starter. It’s also cheaper than constantly trying to find veteran backups who are stopgap options.
Rand: Then again, the best years in recent Vikings history have come thanks to veteran pickups!
Final word: Scoggins
Touche! So you’re saying fire up Zygi’s plane and head to Hattiesburg?