The Minnesota Vikings might emerge from the draft with their quarterback of the future, and there’s an overlooked prospect they can absolutely get.
The Minnesota Vikings are heading into a pivotal season in 2021. Another non-playoff season may (and should?) cost head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman their jobs. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is under contract through 2022, albeit with a path to trade him next offseason if things go that way.
As the Vikings consider their quarterback depth chart beyond Cousins, they can’t be inspired by Nate Stanley, Jake Browning or the prospect of re-signing Sean Mannion. Cousins has never missed a start due to injury, but if he were to be injured, the 2021 season would be over from a competitive standpoint.
So the idea of the Vikings drafting someone like Kellen Mond or Kyle Trask is a solid one. But with no second-round pick right now, a shift toward later on Day 2 or Day 3 to draft a quarterback is definitely possible.
An overlooked Day 3 quarterback prospect the Vikings should target
One of the notable quarterback transfers in college football a year ago was Jamie Newman going from Wake Forest to Georgia. With a looming proving ground of SEC competition and a pro-style offense, it was easy to see him as a potential first-round pick.
But Newman opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Thus, with a combination of others rising and having not been seen on a field of any kind other than the Senior Bowl lately, Newman is now a Day 3 draft prospect.
Newman threw for more than 2,800 yards and completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for Wake Forest in 2019 (26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions), along with 574 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. With size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), arm strength and mobility, he looks like a moldable prototype for the modern NFL.
Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash has Newman on his list of 10 undervalued draft prospects. Here’s some of what he wrote about the Wake Forest/Georgia product:
“In 2019, no quarterback in college football had to throw a higher rate of their passes into a tight or closing window, yet he ranked second to only Joe Burrow in PFF passing grade on such throws. His downfield ball placement was also exceptional, helping him produce the Power Five’s second-highest deep passing grade.”
Wherever he lands, Newman will need a year to refine his game. In the fourth round, where they currently have four picks and three within a 20-pick span, the Vikings should take the leap and bet on the upside of someone who might have been a first-round pick if 2020 had been normal.