The “Number of Days Until the 2023 NFL Draft” countdown is now officially into the single digits, and that means the annual SB Nation NFL Mock Draft is in full swing. We’ve got our pick for the Minnesota Vikings in at No. 24. . .or No. 23, depending on how you view the Miami Dolphins’ selection ... and we’ve made a selection that will make a lot of people happy and a lot of people angry.
In other words, we’ve made the perfect mock draft choice.
Here’s how Round 1 went before our pick was submitted:
- Carolina Panthers - C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
- Houston Texans - Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
- Arizona Cardinals - Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama
- Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
- Seattle Seahawks - Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
- Detroit Lions - Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia
- Las Vegas Raiders - Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
- Atlanta Falcons - Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
- Chicago Bears - Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
- Philadelphia Eagles - Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
- Tennessee Titans - Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
- Houston Texans - Jordan Addison, WR, Southern Cal
- New York Jets - Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
- New England Patriots - Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
- Green Bay Packers - Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
- Washington Commanders - Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
- Detroit Lions - Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Calijah Kancey, DL, Pittsburgh
- Seattle Seahawks - Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
- Miami Dolphins - PICK FORFEITED FOR BEING DIRTY CHEATERS (or something)
- Los Angeles Chargers - Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
- Baltimore Ravens - Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
As you’ve seen if you’ve been paying attention to our Mock Draft Database for this season, the wide receiver and cornerback positions have both been very popular picks for the Vikings, and there was some talent available at both of those spots here. However, with the way the board fell, there was a player that we simply couldn’t pass up.
So, with the 24th pick in the 2023 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select ...
Will Levis, quarterback, University of Kentucky
With Kirk Cousins turning 35 years old in August and the team electing to not extend his contract beyond this year (at least as things stand right now), the team is in definite need of a quarterback of the future. With all of the buzz surrounding the top four quarterbacks in this year’s class, it was surprising to us that Levis fell all the way to 24 after signal callers went off the board with three of the first four selections. But since he fell into our laps, this gives the Vikings an opportunity to set themselves up for long-term success.
At a press conference late last week, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said that “Ideally, you probably would want to have a year to have a [rookie] in the building” when it comes to developing the quarterback position. This scenario allows the Vikings to do just that, as Levis would spend his rookie season caddying for Cousins before taking over the offense in 2024 after Cousins’ departure.
DraftKings Sportsbook projects the over/under for where Levis will be selected at No. 6.5 with -235 odds. Levis to the Vikings certainly fits that projection, though we’re still surprised he fell this far in the first round.
Levis would be the fifth quarterback drafted by the Vikings in the first round in franchise history, following Tommy Kramer, Daunte Culpepper, Christian Ponder, and Teddy Bridgewater. Because both Ponder and Bridgewater could be considered “misses” in terms of success with the Vikings ... the latter largely for reasons that were out of his control ... Culpepper is the last real “franchise” quarterback the Vikings have drafted and developed, and his selection came nearly a quarter of a century ago. Since then, the quarterback position for Minnesota has mostly been a collection of stopgap solutions, or at least it was prior to the Cousins signing in 2018.
Taking Levis in this scenario would truly allow Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell to put their stamp on this team going forward. Their long-term futures with the Vikings and the long-term success of the franchise will, largely, be determined by their success at the quarterback position, as is the case with most teams. If they can strike gold with a prospect like Will Levis, those two men will be running things in Minnesota for many years to come.