The Minnesota Vikings are on their bye week sitting at 1-5 and in last place in the NFC North. The playoffs are completely out of the conversation so it’s time to start looking ahead at some of the top draft prospects.
This Saturday’s college football slate consists of three must watch games for Vikings fans. The Big Ten is back, and two of the three games are a part of the conference’s first weekend of football.
Here are the three games that every Vikings fan should be watching on Saturday.
Nebraska at Ohio State (11 a.m. on Fox)
This game is likely going to be a blowout as the fifth ranked Buckeyes take on a mediocre Nebraska team. There are two players to watch that play for Ohio State and each of them play at positional needs for the Vikings.
Trevor Lawrence is also playing on Saturday, but the chances of the Vikings landing the number one pick are still slim to none. The good news is there’s another quarterback in this draft class who has the potential to turn around a franchise.
Justin Fields was once the star of the Netflix original QB1 as he was one of the top recruits coming out of high school. In his first season with Ohio State, Fields completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns. He only threw three interceptions and ran for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Fields is a star and that is going to show on Saturday. He plays with great mobility, a strong arm and great accuracy. With Kirk Cousins re-signing this offseason it’s unlikely he will be off the team in 2021. However, letting a quarterback like Fields develop behind Cousins for a year wouldn’t be the worst idea.
There is also a guard playing for Ohio State that is worth keeping an eye on throughout the game. Although it’s not always easy to focus on the offensive line, Wyatt Davis has been a great guard for the Buckeyes.
If the Vikings land a top-five pick it wouldn't likely be spent on Davis, but if they manage to win a few more games they might be picking towards the middle of the first round. Selecting Davis would create a youthful offensive line with a lot of potential. Davis would be playing alongside Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury and Ezra Cleveland, all players that were drafted in the first two rounds.
Michigan at Minnesota (6:30 p.m. on ABC)
I will start out by saying this is probably a bit biased, but Minnesota fans need something to look forward to. The Gophers are the only team the state of Minnesota has left this year for any shot of positivity, so it’ll be worth your while tuning into this game.
Although there aren’t a ton of positional needs playing on either side of the ball, there are still a handful of players that are going to be drafted in the first two days in 2021.
Rashod Bateman is the highest rated player in this game by most NFL Draft experts. He’s coming off a 2019 campaign where he hauled in 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. The wide receiver position isn’t a dire need for the Vikings, but pairing Bateman with Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Irv Smith Jr. would only cause more headaches for opposing defenses.
With the Yannick Ngakoue trade, the Vikings could also focus on beefing up their defensive line in the draft. Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is likely going to be one of the first Wolverines taken in the draft, and he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Hutchinson could be tasked with going up against the Gopher’s Daniel Faalele, the 6’8” 400-pound offensive tackle. The trenches need improvement on both sides of the ball for the Vikings, so this matchup should be a fun one to keep an eye on.
Texas State at BYU (9:15 p.m. on ESPN)
Not only do Vikings fans get the luxury of having another game to watch after the Gophers game, but there is also a quarterback rising up big boards playing in this game.
BYU’s Zach Wilson wasn’t a household name before the start of the 2020 season, but that is starting to change. Through his first five games of the season he’s completing 78.7 percent of his passes for 1,641 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception.
Wilson hasn’t been going up against as competitive of competition that the Big Ten and SEC schools are playing, but neither did Josh Allen or Carson Wentz. He's another mobile quarterback that is more capable of making plays outside the pocket than what the Vikings currently have on their roster. He has the accuracy to make it at the next level, but that aspect of his game has some room for improvement.
It works out perfectly that this is the late game because it will give Vikings fans a chance to watch another quarterback that could be an option to sit for a year behind Cousins. If you haven’t watched a BYU game this year, I highly recommend staying up late for this one to watch Wilson play.
This Saturday the games are spread out perfectly for Vikings fans. There are several other players that will be worth watching throughout the day but these games include some of the players I'm most excited for.