Speculation is swirling around the NFL as teams prepare their final big boards for the 2021 NFL Draft. The Vikings have a few glaring holes along their offensive and defensive line, but if the right quarterback were to fall it should be an easy pick for Rick Spielman and company.
Justin Fields is one of the top-five quarterbacks in the 21 class but has seen his name start to slide as of late. It still seems unlikely that the former Buckeye superstar falls to the Vikings, but crazier things have happened on draft night.
Recent reports around Fields’ pre-draft medical records have stated that he’s managing epilepsy. This could play a factor into a potential slide on Thursday night, even though doctors believe he will outgrow the disorder.
If it weren’t for the Zach Wilson buzz that grew dramatically throughout the 2020 collegiate football season, I truly believe we’d hear Fields’ name called second on Thursday night. I still give Fields a slight edge as QB2 in this class, so having him fall to 14 would be a dream scenario.
In 22 career games at Ohio State, Fields totaled 5,373 yards through the air, 62 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, all while completing 68.4 percent of his passes. This doesn’t even account for what he did with his legs, racking up 867 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.
On top of putting up monstrous stats for one of the nation’s top football programs, Fields led his team to back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances. Despite coming up short in both, the performance he had against Clemson in the Semi Finals this year was insane.
These stats would be impressive for any quarterback, let alone one that took a hard shot to the ribs in the middle of the game. He showed off his arm talent and his athleticism throughout the season, but also proved in the Semi Finals that he has the toughness to last in the NFL.
It should be noted that there are several other quarterback needy teams that could jump the Vikings with a trade up. Washington, Chicago and New England are just a few to keep an eye on, but there’s still a good chance Fields could find a home with one of the teams inside the top-ten.
Kirk Cousins has been a very good quarterback for the Vikings since arriving in 2018, but there’s no current plan in place for life beyond him. Several of the league’s top quarterbacks were taken when there was already a starter on the roster of the team taking them, and it’s time the Vikings jump on that bandwagon with a loaded quarterback class.
Here is an example of a mock draft I did that didn’t include any trade backs. Fields fell to 14 and the Vikings were still able to grab some plug-and-play options with their loaded draft capital in the third and fourth rounds.
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