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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 23 November 2023

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants.” —Kevin James

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Minnesota Vikings v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving ya filthy animals!

Since yore last open thread ...

2023 NFL Week 12: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Vikings Stock Market Report: Week 11

Kyle Rudolph on the Blue Balloon Challenge, Life After Football, and His Thoughts on the 2023 Minnesota Vikings

Vikings calling for another “Winter Whiteout” for Week 16

The greatest performance in NFL Thanksgiving history, 25 years ago

Other Vikings News

These Minnesota Vikings are in desperate need of a bye week

Josh Dobbs
Still just weeks into his Vikings odyssey, the Vikings quarterback needs every off-day possible to get up-to-speed on the playbook and in synch with the rest of the offense.
T.J. Hockenson
The tight end has really stepped up since Dobbs was thrust into the spotlight, becoming the quarterback’s favorite target over the past few weeks.
But he has taken a serious pummeling by opposing defenses after the catch, and has been battling through a rib injury since the Saints game.
Justin Jefferson and Akayleb Evans
For the third week running, Jefferson is being considered “questionable” ahead of the Vikings’ next game, and in the past two weeks he was ultimately scratched as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Whether the Vikings play him Monday or not, a week’s extra rest afterwards would certainly help.
Evans is in a similar situation in that he’s not being explicitly ruled out of Monday’s game, but remains questionable. Evans has been the Vikings’ highest-graded cornerback, so getting him back to full fitness will be vital for the run-in.
Ed Ingram
In a season in which the Vikings offensive line has been otherwise excellent, Ingram struggled at right guard during Sunday’s loss at the Denver Broncos, posting a PFF rating of just 56.0 in pass protection and 55.9 in run blocking.

Ex-Patriot turned broadcaster suggests Vikings reached out to Tom Brady

Speaking on his daily radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, former Patriots QB Scott Zolak told co-host Marc Bertrand Monday that the Vikings “reached out” to Tom Brady. Zolak made the claim in a segment where the two were discussing Bengals fans wanting Brady to join their squad after Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury last Thursday night.

NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Momentum Halted by Loss at Denver

No. 14 (up 1 spot): Eric Edholm,
[The Vikings] had an opportunity to steal one in Denver, but they could only manage three points over their final four possessions, turning it over three times (INT, fumble, downs) in the final 18 minutes of the game. Joshua Dobbs had some moments early, and the run-game duo of Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler was potent, but Mattison and Dobbs combined for three turnovers. Likewise, the defense took and gave, holding Denver to five field goals before allowing the game-winning TD drive in the final minutes. [Head Coach] Kevin O’Connell has done a tremendous job with this team, and the Vikings remain firmly in the playoff race for now, but this was one that got away. They would have been 5-1 on the road had they pulled it off Sunday night.
No. 13 (no change): Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
No. 14 (down 1 spot): Josh Kendall, The Athletic
No. 14 (up 1 spot): NFL Staff, Bleacher Report
No. 14 (down 2 spots): Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
No. 18 (down 2 spots): Nate Davis, USA Today Sports
No. 14 (down 1 spot): Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports

Giants Poach Vikings Edge Rusher After Waiving 2 Players: Report

“Outside linebacker Benton Whitley [was] signed by [the] Giants off [the Minnesota] Vikings practice squad per a league source @KPRC2,” relayed NFL insider Aaron Wilson on November 21. The 24-year-old edge rusher entered the NFL in 2022 with the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, the undrafted prospect has become a bit of a hot commodity and was poached by the Kansas City Chiefs — only to be swiped by the Vikings later on.
He appeared in his first career NFL game with Minnesota in Week 1, logging one defensive snap and six special teams snaps. In that lone opportunity on defense, Whitley was credited with a quarterback pressure on Pro Football Focus.
At Holy Cross in college, Whitley “appeared in 42 games, registering 111 total tackles (79 solo), 26.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble” according to his Vikings bio.
It continued: “The Crusader alum has notched several accolades in his collegiate career, earning First Team All-Patriot League (2019, 2020, 2021), Second Team All-ECAC (2019), Phil Steele’s All-Patriot League First Team (2021), All-New England (2021), and received the 2021 Msgr. George S. L. Connor Award, presented annually to the person that Holy Cross players are most proud of as a teammate.”

NFL News

NFL Predictions: Week 12’s Winners and Losers

Bears vs. Vikings
Winner: Vikings
The Vikings have punched above their weight this season and shouldn’t have issues against the Bears.

NFL Week 12 Playoff Picture: It’s a huge week for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Draft Stuff

9 NFL prospects to watch in the first round of the FCS playoffs

OL Jalen Sundell | North Dakota State
Edge Ty French | Gardner-Webb
QB Davius Richard | North Carolina Central
OL Torricelli Simpkins | North Carolina Central
DB PJ Jules | Southern Illinois
Edge Jay Person | Chattanooga

2024 NFL Draft matchmaker with QBs not named Caleb Williams, Drake Maye: New backup for Eagles ‘ Jalen Hurts?

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: Vikings rank: No. 4 quarterback, No. 21 overall
There is still a lot to learn about McCarthy. His highs have been really high while his lows have been concerning. Has the sign stealing scandal been a distraction and impacted his play? If Michigan were to fall short of a national championship, would he return to school? The reality is that he has probably not shown enough to garner confidence as QB3 in this draft class, but he certainly could end up in that position.
McCarthy is not a statue in the pocket, but he is a scrambler by necessity, not disposition. When considering where a player like McCarthy may fit at the next level, one place to start is any link to the Shanahan offense. Jared Goff , Matthew Stafford , Joe Burrow , Jimmy Garoppolo , Brock Purdy and Aaron Rodgers are some of the quarterbacks who have operated that system or a branch of that system. Good footwork and playing on time are the priorities.
Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell spent two years as Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator in Los Angeles. His exposure to Stafford and Cousins, the latter of whom is a free agent after the season, will likely mold what he is looking for in a franchise quarterback. There are parallels between the Vikings offense and what McCarthy runs in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines are utilizing play-action on 21.3% of drop backs. Minnesota has the NFL’s highest play-action rate (20.5%), according to TruMedia.

2024 NFL Mock Draft: New 3-Round Projections for Thanksgiving Week

20. Minnesota Vikings Jared Verse | EDGE | Florida State
52. Minnesota Vikings Maason Smith | DL | LSU

NFL mock draft 2024: Updated projection with 5 QBs going first round

20 - Minnesota Vikings JJ McCarthy QB Michigan Junior

Who are the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft? Ranking college QBs by QBR after Week 12

Ranking top quarterback prospects by QBR after Week 12
These are the top quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft class according to ESPN’s QBR metric for the 2023 college football season with one week to play.
Jayden Daniels, LSU (QBR: 94.9)
J.J. McCarthy, Michigan (90.7)
Bo Nix, Oregon (89.7)
Carson Beck, Georgia (85.8)
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma (85.7)
Michael Penix Jr., Washington (85.0)
Kyle McCord, Ohio State (83.8)
Caleb Williams, Southern California (82.4)
DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon State (81.4)
Jordan Travis, Florida State (80.0)
Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss (79.4)
Drake Maye, North Carolina (79.3)
Quinn Ewers, Texas (78.0)
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame (75.7)
Michael Pratt, Tulane (75.3)

2024 NFL Draft Prospects with Most to Gain in Final Weeks of College Football Season

Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
For LSU’s Jayden Daniels, his evaluation at this point in time is an intriguing one.
A dual-threat talent with the ability to beat you with his arm and his legs, his game fits seamlessly with the modern NFL. Currently second to Oregon gunslinger Bo Nix in Heisman odds, he checks many of the boxes teams look for in a future leader under center.
Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
One of the most dominant forces at the position all campaign long, he’ll have an awfully bright spotlight on his game with Oregon State’s continued climb up the AP poll.
“He may be the best [independent] hand puncher in the class,” an AFC area scout said.
Combine it with his size, length, athleticism and ability to stymie any type of pass-rusher in pass pro, and Fuaga could solidify himself as a top-20 player in the class before season’s end.
Nelson Ceaser, EDGE, Houston
Tyler Nubin, Safety, Minnesota
Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M
Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon
T Tuimoloau, EDGE, Ohio State
Tonka Hemingway, IDL, South Carolina
Brian Thomas Jr, WR, LSU

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Chop Robinson Enters the Top 5, Caleb Williams Goes to New York

20) Minnesota Vikings: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
No matter what the Vikings do at the quarterback position, it feels like they’ll take one in the draft. Bo Nix might not be the most exciting pick, but you can’t deny how well he’s playing lately.
The best thing Nix did was transfer to Oregon, and he’s seen his stock skyrocket during the 2023 season. He’s a mature quarterback who’s learned how to take care of the football, and it’s fun to think about what he can do with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson.

Yore Mock

Thinking about he upcoming offseason, here are some key decisions ...

Which QB will Kwesi extend?

Will he pay Danielle Hunter top dollar?

Will he pay Wonnum decent money and is Wonnum’s success due to playing opposite Hunter and in a contract year?

Will he re-sign Hicks and if not, how will he fill the linebacker spots?

Is he comfortable with the cornerback group to not spend in free agency or draft one high?

Booth is in bust territory at this point. Evans is proving to be not durable enough to play all 17 games.

Will he cut Smith or ask him to take another significant pay cut (down to 5-7M)?

Will he extend Risner or draft another guard high?


Trade Partner - Lions
Sent: Pick 20, Pick 116
Received: Pick 30, Pick 62, 2025 DET 2nd


30. Jayden Daniels QB LSU Height: 6’2” Weight: 185

52. Bralen Trice EDGE Washington Height: 6’4” Weight: 274

62. Trey Benson RB Florida State Height: 6’1” Weight: 223

126. Dontay Corleone DT Cincinnati Height: 6’2” Weight: 318

152. Payton Wilson LB NC State Height: 6’4” Weight: 238

157. Mike Sainristil CB Michigan Height: 5’10” Weight: 182

161. Matt Goncalves OT Pittsburgh Height: 6’5” Weight: 330

200. Gabe Hall DT Baylor Height: 6’6” Weight: 293

I would not be surprised or disappointed to see Kwesi extend Cousins and draft a first round Quarterback. Although, one could argue that you probably have to sign Cousins for two years and then your first round pick would be sitting the bench for two years which eliminates some of the benefits of a having a lower cap number for your Quarterback group.

2024 NFL Draft: LSU’s Jayden Daniels Joins Top-3 QB Conversation

At this point in the process, based only on tape, there are three players I believe will vie for that third spot. They are LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.
There are strong arguments to be made for all three quarterbacks, but I would give the nod to Daniels. He has made the biggest jump in his play from last season to this season of any quarterback in this draft class.
2023 Tapes Viewed: Florida State, Alabama and Florida
Daniels’ arm talent is obvious. He has a long, linear frame and is an excellent athlete for the position. He demonstrates good poise and patience in the pocket.
Daniels throws right-handed and possesses a smooth, fluid release. He has the arm strength and accuracy to make all the throws he will need in the NFL.
Comparing his tape from 2022 with this season, Daniels has made tremendous strides in working through his progressions. He makes smart decisions and takes care of the football.
There are still areas Daniels needs to work on. At times, he will predetermine his throws. He also will force throws into coverage downfield because he is looking for big plays when he has receivers open underneath. And Daniels also needs to improve his accuracy in the red zone.

The kiss of death?

Hot Take Tuesday: Baylor’s Gabe Hall is the Next Chris Jones

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