The Unorthodox QB Option for the Vikings

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

If the Minnesota Vikings are going to draft a quarterback in 2024, many have suggested that they trade up in order to do so.

This is certainly an option, and the Vikings have reportedly expressed a willingness to do that. However, it takes two to tango, and there is always a chance that the teams above Minnesota aren’t willing to cooperate. If this were to happen, there is an unorthodox QB option for the Vikings to fill their need at QB while also adding additional draft capital: trading down in the first round.

Of course, this is a less flashy option, and it makes it less likely that they’ll be able to select one of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, or Caleb Williams. However, there are other talented QB prospects who the Vikings would be able to take later on in the draft process. Here is a look at four QBs whom Minnesota could look at later on in the first or second rounds.

Washington QB Michael Penix

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

Michael Penix has all sorts of arm talent, and he popped off the screen every time Washington took the field this season. He was a former track athlete in high school and has all sorts of speed that allows him to create plays with his legs while his ridiculous arm strength makes him one of the more intriguing QB prospects in this draft.

However, Penix’s injury history is a major concern, particularly for a team looking to take him early in the first round. He missed time in every season from 2018-2022, and his medical will be something that front offices have their eye on this spring. Seeing as Penix is going to be a 24-year-old rookie and a player with multiple ACL injuries already, there is a very good chance that he falls further down the board than some think. If he does, the Vikings could strike and plug him into an offense ready to compete.

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. McCarthy wasn’t asked to throw the ball a ton while he was at Michigan, but when he was, he delivered more often than not. McCarthy has been a winner throughout his collegiate career, leading the Wolverines to a 15-0 season in 2023 and a national championship.

McCarthy delivers accurate passes, hitting his receivers in stride and allowing them to pick up extra yards after the catch. Added intrigue from a Vikings perspective could come from his success in play-action. PFF suggests that 88 of his dropbacks came in play-action, and he completed 75.3% of his passes for 920 yards, six TDs, and a single interception. If the Vikings want a natural Kirk Cousins replacement at just 21 years old, McCarthy could be one of the better options.

Oregon QB Bo Nix

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

The path to the 2024 NFL Draft has been an interesting one for Bo Nix. He began his collegiate career at Auburn, but the QB struggled to get that program back to the top in the SEC, throwing for 39 touchdowns and 16 interceptions over the course of three seasons. In total, Auburn went 21-16 during Nix’s tenure as the starter.

Nix then transferred to Oregon for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and he has found much more success in Dan Lanning’s offense. The QB was one of the most accurate passers in college football over the past two years, completing 77.4% of his passes this past season. The question with Nix will be how much of that improvement can be attributed to the Oregon scheme, and will it transfer to the NFL level?

Tulane QB Michael Pratt

Unorthodox QB Option
Oct 13, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) passes the ball during the second half against the Memphis Tigers at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Pratt is very experienced and has been starting for the Green Wave since his freshman season, and he has improved in each season. His ability to move and throw on the run makes him an intriguing prospect. In the open field, he is a bear to bring down at 6’3″ and 220 pounds. He’s very poised in the pocket and delivers an accurate throw regularly.

If the Vikings select Pratt, it would likely be later on in the draft as a developmental piece. It should be assumed that Kirk Cousins is back in a purple uniform if he is on the list of quarterbacks for Minnesota in April.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.