Vikings Rumors: Mocking a Minnesota QB, The Assault from an Old Nemesis, & Achieving History in 2023

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) reacts after a play against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Though we’re now into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors aren’t as abundant, we’ll still be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss the early mock drafts kicking a QB over to Minnesota, the Vikings taking on an old nemesis on Sunday, and achieving history in 2023.

The Vikings Rumors: 12.06.2023

Rumor #1 — The Early Mock Drafts are Sending QBs in Minnesota’s Direction

How does Bo Nix in the opening round of the 2024 NFL Draft sound? Apparently, that option is fairly popular among mock drafters.

Kirk Cousins and Josh Dobbs are heading toward free agency. Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall are sticking around — or, at least, their contracts suggest they’ll be around — but that twosome doesn’t inspire a ton of optimism, at least not when it comes to leading a franchise with dreams of a Super Bowl.

Many mockers think that a QB is going to be the end result of the opening round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Kevin O’Connell, a QB by trade, would certainly welcome the chance to attach his career to 15+ years of homegrown, high-end quarterback play. And, to be sure, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would likely be enthused about the value that comes from nailing a quarterback selection.

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrates with quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) after a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Now, this is all easier said than done. There are a pile of highly-selected passers who simply don’t work out. Even in recent Vikings history, there are a couple of prominent examples: Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater.

Currently, the best guess is that Kirk Cousins will stick around for 2024. Keeping the veteran seems like a good bet since he’s so well-liked and because the player himself wants to continue calling Minnesota home. More importantly, he was playing football at a high level and has a long track record of being able to get the pigskin to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Ask yourself: do you really want to see a season where the elite pass-catching trio languishes because the QB can’t fling the ball?

For the sake of argument, let’s assume Cousins sticks around on a two-year deal. Does Minnesota still sink a high selection into a quarterback? Doing so would allow Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to continue splitting the middle, maintaining a competitive team while simultaneously building toward the future.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings are Soon to Face an Old Nemesis

Yes, they certainly are.

Davante Adams was the long-time running mate to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. The pair could be found regularly torching secondaries, and the Vikings were no different. A common refrain during the final years of the Rodgers era in Green Bay was that the QB didn’t have enough weapons around him. While there may be some truth to the sentiment, the consistent presence of Adams from 2014-21 meant there was always at least one excellent option.

Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive back Dontae Johnson (27) and defensive back K’Waun Williams (24) tackle Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) during the NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK

Of course, things didn’t immediately click for Adams. His rookie season featured just 446 receiving yards and his sophomore season had 483 yards. Slowly, though, things got better. By 2018, Adams was a force along the outside.

His final season with the Packers resulted in 123 catches, 1,553 yards, and 11 touchdowns. His opening game against Minnesota in 2021 resulted in 7 catches, 115 yards, and 2 TDs; his second game against Minnesota in 2021 resulted in 11 catches, 136 yards, and 1 TD.

So, the Vikings will be very aware of what the receiver is capable of doing.

Working against Davante Adams is the simple fact that he’s now employed by Las Vegas. The Raiders have a horrendous offense that’s averaging just 16.8 points per game, good for 27th in the NFL. Brian Flores will be looking to ensure the aerial attack is pretty tame in Las Vegas. Step 1 will be to corral Mr. Adams.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings Have a Shot at a Historic Achievement in 2023

Stunningly, the Vikings have a chance to get a trio of receivers up to 1,000 yards. All of the QB turmoil — which is to say nothing of the IR trip for Justin Jefferson — should have nullified the possibility, but there’s a chance it happens.

Never before has there been a single Minnesota team to offer up three pass catchers who exceed the notable milestone. In 1981, Joe Senser put together 1,004 yards while Sammy White was good for 1,001 yards. Notably, Ahmad Rashad finished the season with 884 yards, so the ’81 season represents Minnesota’s best effort at getting three receivers to 1,000 yards. At no point did the trio of Randy Moss, Cris Carter, and Jake Reed achieve the rare feat (though the Vikings did boast a pair of 1,000-yard receivers from 1994-2000).

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during the first quarter against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota has a reasonable shot at a trio of pass catchers who will hit (and maybe even exceed) the receiving mark. Take a look at where things stand:

  • T.J. Hockenson: 786 Yards.
  • Jordan Addison: 686 Yards.
  • Justin Jefferson: 571 Yards.

And, for clarity, let’s flip the numbers around. Minnesota is moving into its final five games. How many yards will each receiver need to get to arrive at 1,000? Take a look:

  • T.J. Hockenson: 214 Yards.
  • Jordan Addison: 314 Yards.
  • Justin Jefferson: 429 Yards.

There’s no guarantee that Kevin O’Connell can leverage his pass-first operation into three pass catchers soaring past the 1,000-yard mark. The possibility is alive and well, though, as Minnesota marches toward their Week 14 game in Las Vegas.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.