The Minnesota Vikings employ a quarterback responsible for over 4,000 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2021. His name is Kirk Cousins, and some fans and pundits look at that production and say, “He’s not good enough for the Vikings.” Vikings”.
That puts Cousins in the middle of trade speculation, possibly landing with a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos or New Orleans Saints this offseason. And if Cousins is traded, Minnesota will need a quarterback if it doesn’t trust 22-year-old Kellen Mond for the job. Mike Zimmer sure not.
For the second notable time, a credible mock draft links Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to the Vikings. Minnesota has the 12th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, leaving Josh Edwards from CBS Sports, the Vikings will have a shiny new pin.
Edward briefly summarized Willis to the Vikings:
“Minnesota has taken the clean house route by moving on from Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman. There’s no indication of who the next regimen will be or what he might do in the draft, but it’s reasonable to think he may also want a fresh start at quarterback.”
In this mock draft, Willis was the third quarterback off the board after Matt Corral was drafted to the Denver Broncos and Kenny Pickett landed with the Washington Football Team. No more quarterbacks were selected in the first round after Willis to the Vikings.
Willis would mark a new era for Minnesota, presumably ending the Cousins era, or using Cousins as the best [and expensive] patch pin in football history. Also, in the event of a Cousins trade before the draft, it would likely happen sooner, Minnesota would likely get a first- or second-round pick as compensation. A junior rebuild, actually.
Willis, as a college commodity, is everything Cousins is not: quick and mobile, familiar with a run-heavy RPO offense. Does that sound like cousins? Emphatically no. Even though Willis is spat upon as a first-round asset, most draft masterminds perceive him as a developmental-style quarterback, less raw than the aforementioned Mond.
the network project compares Willis’ skill set to Jordan Love, the QB2 for the Green Bay Packers.
If the Vikings select a quarterback in Round 1, they’ll try to fix history. The last pair of quarterbacks selected in the first round, Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater, didn’t pan out for a variety of reasons. Daunte Culpepper was the last Minnesota quarterback from the first round to thrive.
The NFL draft takes place on April 28.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh Y Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking hobby dates back to 1996. He listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos’ and The Doors (the band).