7 Offensive Draft Prospects for Vikings Fans to Watch at the Senior Bowl

Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws the ball against the Oregon Ducks in the second half of the Pac-12 Championship game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, some of the top talent in college football heads to Mobile, Alabama, for the Senior Bowl.

Not only is it an opportunity for potential draft prospects to show off their skills against other talented players, but it also gives them a chance to meet with executives and coaches from NFL teams for the first time. This year’s event kicks off on Tuesday, January 30th with the first team practices, and coverage of the event can be viewed on ESPN as well as NFL Network and NFL+. Here are seven players from the offensive side to keep an eye on throughout the week.

Washington QB Michael Penix

Draft Prospects
Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Especially for Vikings fans hoping for a QB in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Michael Penix is worth keeping an eye on this week. After struggling with injuries throughout the early years of his collegiate career, Penix has played some incredible football for Washington over the past two seasons, including leading them to a national championship game appearance in 2023.

As the highest-rated QB prospect at this event, this is a great opportunity for Penix to pull away from the pack and show that he belongs near the top of this year’s class at the position.

South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler

Dec 30, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) throws the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second quarter in the 2022 Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports.

Spencer Rattler’s collegiate career has been a bit of a roller coaster ride to say the least. At one point in time, he was viewed as one of the best quarterbacks in college football, but after a strong 2020 season at Oklahoma, he was benched midway through the 2021 season in favor of Caleb Williams. Rattler then headed to South Carolina where he has ridden below the lime light but has showcased a strong arm and some decent mobility.

This week is a great opportunity for him to show he can still be a quality draft prospect, and if the Vikings are to take a different position in the first round, perhaps Rattler can be a target in the second day of the draft.

Oregon QB Bo Nix

Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) looks to throw against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Similarly to Rattler, Bo Nix had some struggles early on in his career, which led him to transfer from Auburn to Oregon after three seasons. In Oregon’s offense, Nix proved to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country, but still, questions remain if this improvement was simply because of Oregon’s QB-friendly system.

This week, Nix has a chance to showcase his abilities in a neutral environment away from that Oregon offense. If he plays well, it can solidify his status as a top-50 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.

USC WR Brenden Rice

Sep 23, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) catches a touchdown pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at Mountain America Stadium, Home of the ASU Sun Devils. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Brenden Rice has always had pressure on him throughout his football career, being the son of legendary NFL receiver, Jerry Rice. After beginning his collegiate career at the University of Colorado, he transferred to USC in 2022 to team up with Caleb Williams, and he turned into a touchdown machine in the Trojans offense, with 12 of his 45 receptions in 2023 going for scores. In a very talented receiving class, Rice has an opportunity to raise his draft stock this week.

Florida State WR Johnny Wilson

Nov 18, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Johnny Wilson (14) catches the ball during the warm ups against the North Alabama Lions at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, there are draft prospects labeled as freak athletes. Johnny Wilson out of Florida State is exactly that. At 6’7″ and nearly 240 pounds, he has imposing size that simply cannot be matched by cornerbacks, and he is lightning quick with the potential to run in the 4.4s at the NFL scouting combine.

Kentucky RB Ray Davis

Kentucky Wildcats running back Ray Davis (1) throws down Ls after scoring in the third quarter. Nov. 24, 2023

There hasn’t been a running back in this year’s draft to grab the reins of that “RB1” label this year like we saw last year with Bijan Robinson. As a result, the Senior Bowl could go a long way towards determining who will get the first selections at the position this spring.

Ray Davis transferred to Kentucky in 2023 after stints at both Temple and Vanderbilt, and he has proven capable of being a three-down RB throughout his career. He picks up plenty of yards in the trenches, and in addition, he can contribute as a receiver out of the backfield. With Minnesota’s struggles at running back last year, this should be a position that they pay attention to during the draft process.

Kansas State G Cooper Beebe

Kansas State senior offensive lineman cooper Beebe (50) keeps Kansas redshirt senior defensive lineman Devin Phillips (40) at bay during the second quarter of Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The Vikings have needs on the offensive line this offseason with starting left guard Dalton Risner heading to free agency. Cooper Beebe could be a prospect to keep an eye on this spring as the Kansas State product proved to be a very proficient run blocker and pass protector during his time with the Wildcats. With a number of the top guard prospects heading to Mobile this week, Beebe has a chance to rise above the pack if he can put together a strong showing.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.