Coach Drops Potential Reason for Vikings’ Change of Plans With Top QB Prospect

The Minnesota Vikings’ interest in the quarterback prospects of the 2024 draft class is clear.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

They have maintained a presence at the various pro days, building up their database for the possibility one of them falls to them or forces their hand to move up via trade.

Things seemed to hit a snag, with Vikings brass scheduling a private meeting with LSU’s Jayden Daniels following his pro day, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on March 27. But their plans to fall through, per KTSP’s Darren Wolfson on March 28.

Wolfson posited a potential scheduling conflict with Quarterbacks Coach Josh McCown.

However, in defending Daniels’ slight frame – he weighed 210 pounds at his pro day – LSU head coach Brian Kelly may have let on where Daniels believes he will be selected.

“He is going to be so committed to taking care of himself that you’re not going to have to worry about size or [if] he doesn’t weigh enough,” Kelly told reporters on March 28. “Lamar [Jackson] has done a pretty good job with his size. [Patrick] Mahomes I wouldn’t consider him a giant. Because he is going to get the ball out to the playmakers and make plays – for Washington.”

That closing line could be a head coach hyping his former player.

Daniels completed 72.2% of his passes for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns, and four interceptions last season, earning the Heisman trophy. He also led the Tigers to back-to-back winning seasons, while helping legitimize Kelly’s tenure after a tumultuous start.

Still, the Commanders hold the No. 2 overall pick and had new General Manager Adam Peters and Head Coach Dan Quinn in Baton Rouge for Daniels’ pro day on March 27.

Jayden Daniels Has Support in Vikings Organization Amid Uncertainty Around Justin Jefferson

Jayden Daniels, Minnesota Vikings

Missing out on Daniels could be a blow to the Vikings’ big-picture plans, which largely revolve around Justin Jefferson.

“Minnesota knows it eventually has to address the quarterback position long term,” ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote on February 10. “The notion of bringing in Daniels to pair with their star LSU alum wideout Justin Jefferson has appeal to some in the organization.”

The four-time Pro Bowler is on track to finish his rookie contract on his fifth-year option.

Jefferson and the Vikings have expressed an interest in getting an extension done. The deal figures to reset the market for his position, if not for all non-quarterbacks.

As the Vikings learned with Kirk Cousins this offseason, it only matters if they get a deal done with Jefferson. He expressed confidence that he would be the same player with or without Cousins before the latter left for the Atlanta Falcons in free agency.

The Vikings signed Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million contract to replace him.

Commanders’ Draft Plans Could Work in Vikings’ Favor

Dan Quinn, Adam Peters, Minnesota Vikings

This is the peak time for smokescreens around the NFL. Former North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye was the consensus No. 2 quarterback prospect entering last season.

A step back for him, combined with standout campaigns from Daniels and J.J. McCarthy – who led the Michigan Wolverines to a National Championship victory – have fostered a pre-draft slide.

The New England Patriots had a strong presence at the LSU pro day.

They sent nine personnel members to see Daniels and his fellow Tigers, per Breer. However, Breer reported Head Coach Jerod Mayo and Director of Scouting Eliot Wolf attended Maye’s.

The Patriots already had what Breer termed as a “lengthy” meeting with McCarthy before his pro day on March 25. If that previous interest outweighs what they learned about Maye, the Vikings could be positioned to trade up and land a player their coaching staff knows well.

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