For the third time in four years the Kirk Cousins led Vikings have underperformed and missed out on the playoffs. There’s plenty of blame to go around, most of which doesn’t fall on the shoulders of Cousins, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time for a change.
Change is a word floating around the Vikings world regularly, as all signs point towards some sort of shakeup this offseason. Whether that’s the GM, the head coach, the starting quarterback, or perhaps all three, Vikings fans should embrace what lies up ahead.
In all likelihood, a change at head coach or GM should happen before any decisions are made on the team’s quarterback of the future. Having said that, the 2022 QB draft class has been labeled as below average, and that shouldn’t scare the Vikings away from taking one come late April.
Although there hasn’t been anything outside of proposed trade ideas from NFL analysts, getting a possible first-round pick while getting out of $35 million in 2022 seems like a no brainer for the Vikings. That’s not saying there’s going to be a quarterback that comes in and outperforms Cousins right away, but that’s a risk this team should be willing to take on.
If that were to come to fruition, snagging a quarterback in the first two rounds would likely be on the radar for the Vikings front office. Again, this draft class is looked down on after having some pretty good players come out of the 2020 and 2021 classes, but that doesn’t mean the Vikings shouldn’t take the risk.
For example, let’s look back at a couple draft classes prior to those two, where it didn’t really seem like there was a clear-cut top quarterback.
The 2017 draft class was another one that was labeled by many analysts as “lacking elite talent” with Mitchell Trubisky leading the way. That same year there was a team in a similar position as the Vikings and they drafted a quarterback by the name of Patrick Mahomes. I’d say looking back at it the Kansas City Chiefs made the right decision moving on from Alex Smith and taking a chance at a player with a high ceiling.
Exactly one year after Mahomes was drafted, the 2018 class was looked at as a stronger class for quarterbacks. However, many analysts had Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold listed ahead of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. Mayfield and Darnold have had mediocre careers up to this point and their futures are both uncertain. Jackson and Allen have both overperformed and will likely have their names in the MVP conversation for the foreseeable future.
This isn’t saying the Vikings are guaranteed to find a quarterback like Mahomes, Allen or Jackson, but it’s a risk that this team must take. If it were to fail miserably in 2022, the motto remains the same in 2023, as there’s never a bad time to draft a quarterback.
You may be asking, what quarterbacks should pique the interest of the Vikings front office? My top three in order are Matt Corral, Carson Strong and Malik Willis, all of which the Vikings could potentially have a chance on given their current draft position. This list has a good chance at changing up a bit throughout the draft process, but the idea of drafting a quarterback will remain the same.
Rookie quarterbacks always seem to be put into bad situations when they’re drafted early, but the Vikings offense is anything but a bad situation for a rookie quarterback.
A youthful offensive line, a top-three wide receiver, a top-three running back and the return of Irv Smith Jr. at the tight end position should leave any quarterback drooling over the chance to take over the keys. With the right coaching staff in place, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see a young quarterback take off with the exact offense this team played with in 2021.
The idea of bringing in a bridge quarterback to compete with a rookie and Kellen Mond is another good idea. Getting out of Cousins’ contract would allow the team to sign free agents on a deteriorating defense while having three cheap quarterbacks competing throughout training camp.
Change is scary, especially when the Vikings have felt close to being a good team at times this season. Although it can be scary, it can also be needed at times, and the Vikings have reached that point.
For more Vikings related information make sure to tune into KFAN 100.3 and keep an eye out on KFAN.com for future articles diving deeper into the 2022 quarterback class.