The Minnesota Vikings are committed to quarterback Kirk Cousins for the 2023 season, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is evidently keeping his options open for the future in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Minnesota, holding the 24th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft order, isn’t in an ideal position to land a quarterback. There’s a clear group of four signal-callers – Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson – all projected to be top-10 picks.
It puts the Vikings in a spot where landing a high-end quarterback prospect will require trading up on draft night. While it’s still unclear if that’s on the table, it’s now evident Minnesota is fully invested in scouting the 2023 quarterback class.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah shared during the NFL Combine on Friday that the Vikings are doing their homework on this year’s quarterback prospects. Backing that up, SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson reported that Minnesota met with Richardson at the scouting combine.
Cousins, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, is coming off one of the best seasons in his career. The 34-year-old quarterback completed 65.9% of his attempts this past season with a 4.5% touchdown rate and a 92.5 passer rating.
- Kirk Cousins stats (2022): 4,547 pass yards, 29-14 TD-INT, 7.1 ypa, 49.9 ESPN QBR
However, Cousins will turn 35 before Week 1 and he is only under contract for the upcoming season before his deal expires. While the Vikings have some interest in retaining him, it’s evident his years as the franchise quarterback in Minnesota are winding down.
If the Vikings want Richardson, they will likely need to move up within the top seven picks. The Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and even the Seattle Seahawks are viable threats to pick Richardson.
Of course, Minnesota’s extensive homework on the 2023 quarterback class could push them in another direction. The Vikings could target former Heisman Trophy contender Hendon Hooker, using the 2023 season as a redshirt year as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Outside of Hooker, other Day 2 targets may include Stanford’s Tanner McKee, Fresno State’s Jake Haener and Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell. One thing is for certain, though, Cousins should be prepared to mentor a young quarterback in 2023.