With loaded QB draft class, now is the time for Vikings to act

With a strong class, this year might be the time to select Kirk Cousins' successor.
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Trey Lance

The Minnesota Vikings enter the NFL Draft with plenty of needs but quarterback isn't high on the list, at least from an immediate perspective. There are five quarterbacks projected to go in the first round and all five could be gone by the time the Vikings go on the clock at pick No. 14. 

But if there was a year to be aggressive and go find a QB, this is it.

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman talked to several NFL coaches and scouts about this year's draft class and the reviews about quarterbacks are glowing. But when asked about next year's draft class, one coach told Feldman that the QB class is pretty weak. 

"Next year just looks really barren," the coach said. "Right now, [North Carolina's] Sam Howell? Eh, I don’t know. [USC's Kedon] Slovis? I don’t know. That might go into these teams taking a guy and sitting him because they don’t trust next year. I don’t know."

This creates an interesting situation for the Vikings as Kirk Cousins is signed through the 2022 season. While Minnesota could sign Cousins to an extension, he'll be entering his age-35 season when his contract expires. So unless Minnesota wants to spend big dollars on a free agent QB to replace Cousins, now is the year ripe for finding the QB of the future in the draft. 

And as Matthew Coller noted in his weekly column for Bring Me The News, waiting to pick a developmental QB in rounds 2-4 doesn't typically get a team a multi-year starter. If the Vikings are aware of these factors, one would have to think that finding a QB in the first round is a real possibility. 

If the Vikings are lucky, they could get a chance at Justin Fields. While the 6-foot-2, 227-pounder put up astronomical numbers at Ohio State, there have been reports about his lack of maturity and his ability to read through progressions. Still, some scouts believe Fields could turn into a franchise quarterback. 

Feldman's panel also had high praise for Trey Lance, the Marshall, Minnesota native who accounted for 42 total touchdowns without an interception during his lone season as a starter at NDSU. 

"Lance is the upside guy," a QB coach told Feldman. "There may be some growing pains, but he has such a good arm and he’s big, athletic and also a tremendous leader and very smart."

Scouts told Felman that Alabama's Mac Jones would be the QB they would pick (outside of obvious No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence) if they needed to win right away in the NFL. Many mock drafts have Jones going third overall to the 49ers, but if he doesn't go there he could slide to Carolina or Denver inside the top 10, or maybe even to the Vikings at 14. 

There are also a boatload of other teams likely interested in finding their future starter. 

If the top five QB prospects are gone by the time the Vikings pick, would they go all-in on a second tier option like Davis Mills, Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond or Jamie Newman? 

We'll find out Thursday, April 29. 

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