Given what the Minnesota Vikings already have on the roster at the quarterback position, it seems unlikely that the team would spend one of their draft choices on a quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is going into just his third NFL season, they have a veteran mentor in Shaun Hill (though the team could replace him), and a quarterback in Taylor Heinicke that they're clearly interested in developing.
Still, nobody knows for sure what Rick Spielman is going to do on draft day, so in keeping with the quarterback theme we've sort of gone with today, we'll take a look at a few quarterbacks that the team could potentially take a chance on. I'm going to go off of the assumption that the Vikings will not be selecting a quarterback before Day Three of this year's draft, as there's really no reason for them to select one in the first three rounds.
This is a pretty early look at things, given that we still have the Scouting Combine and Pro Days to go through at this point. Obviously, there's a very good chance that some of the players that show up on this list will improve their stock between now and 28 April. But, for now, this is what we're going with.
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
Brissett is, currently, carrying a mid-round grade on most of the "big boards" out there, but there seems to be quite a bit of buzz around him. He started his college career at the University of Florida, but transferred to North Carolina State and was their starter for the past two seasons. He's definitely got NFL quarterback size, at about 6'4" and 240 pounds. Our friends from Bleeding Green Nation did a scouting report on him, and this is what they had to say:
His ability to stretch the field helps improve the entire offense and hopefully he will continue to work to improve his ability to pass at the intermediate levels of the field. I think his learning curve at the NFL will be large relative to his style, but in the long run, his style of play provides much more upside for an offense than it does downside. On top of everything he provides as a passer, he also gives the Eagles an added dimension as a runner, which will not only impact the coverages that he faces but it will also open things up for other running backs and make the zone read even more dangerous.
I understand that the Vikings don't do a lot of "zone read" types of plays, and they likely won't as long as Adrian Peterson is the focus of the offense. But Brissett seems like the sort of quarterback that could be molded into more of a "traditional" NFL quarterback if that's what a team wants. Of the players on our list, he seems the most likely to catapult himself into the first two days of the draft.
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Speaking of molding someone, Prescott presents one of the more intriguing projects in this class. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com went so far as to compare him to Steve McNair, and while that's awfully high praise, it's not terribly far off if Prescott can find some measure of consistency.
Here's what the folks from CBS Sports had to say about Prescott:
Evaluators knew he was a bruising runner, using his size, quickness and toughness to run over defenders, but Prescott has shown a much improved feel in the passing game, displaying anticipation, decisiveness and above average awareness to recognize things quickly and react accordingly. He deserves credit for the positive steps he has taken, but a lot of evaluators aren't sold quite yet as Prescott tends to predetermine his throws and has the bad habit of locking onto his targets, missing open reads downfield.
The good news is that, from all accounts, he's been an incredibly hard worker during his years with the Bulldogs. If he can become more consistent mechanically, he could prove to be a late-round steal.
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
HOGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!! Opinions seem to vary pretty widely on Hogan, who has all of the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback but suffered from a bit of inconsistency during his time with the Cardinal. He has all the traits that you generally hear about the players from Stanford at draft time. . .intelligent, works hard, that sort of thing.
Here's a bit from a USA Today scouting report on Hogan:
Hogan's improvement in 2015 is substantial enough for me to place a draftable grade on him, but I do think NFL teams will be concerned about his mechanics, and about the fact that Hogan was never really asked to carry the Stanford offense thanks to Christian McCaffrey's presence. His physical tools are adequate however, and his intangibles, athleticism, and accuracy will all be intriguing to teams on the draft's third day. I think Hogan catches on somewhere as a solid backup who will be fully prepared when/if he gets a shot to start, but he'll likely never be more than that at the pro level.
At this point, that's what the Vikings would be looking for, so that's okay. If the Vikings think they can fix his delivery (more on that at the link there), he could be someone worth looking into.
Vernon Adams, Oregon
Adams only played one season for the Ducks following his transfer from Eastern Washington University. He got to Eugene with a lot of hype, but found it pretty tough being the guy to replace Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
Here's what Matt Waldman of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio had to say about Adams' prospects:
If you ask me, the fact Adams played this well as a first-year starter in a new system a level up from his three years at Eastern Washington is a positive. If he proves a quick study and a durable option, Adams' future is no worse than that a of a backup capable of helping his team in bind. One NFL personnel employee I know likes career backups with the mobility element because its harder for opponents to prepare for on short notice.
The biggest knock on Adams is his size. He participated in the East/West Shrine Game, and measured in at 5'10 1/2" and 195 pounds. As Waldman says, he's going to have to show he can stand up to the physicality of the National Football League. Still, Adams is a playmaker, and one that might intrigue the Vikings.
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Another player with a "prototype" build for the NFL level, Sudfeld put up some pretty impressive numbers for the Hoosiers in 2015. He completed 61 percent of his passes this past season, and threw 24 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
We'll go back to CBS Sports for their evaluation of Sudfeld:
Sudfeld has the size and arm strength every scout is looking for, but he's not as accurate as his production in Indiana's up-tempo spread offense would indicate. The traits are there to develop, however, and in an average draft class, he could generate middle-round interest with the hopes of ultimately competing for a starting role.
Those are just a few of the names that the Vikings could take a flier on, should they decide to draft a quarterback to round out their depth chart this April. Are there any players that we've missed or that you'd like to see the team take a chance on?