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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 26 March 2024

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By: Mark P

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing permanent except change. – Heraclitus

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News and Links

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s Top Secret Vikings Plans

NFL approves several significant rules changes

The Vikings are making Justin Jefferson a part of their quarterback decision

Minnesota Vikings Free Agency 2024

Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell says adding another first-round pick about ‘flexibility’ in 2024 draft, sees ‘positive situation’ for QB Sam Darnold

“I think you view it as extra flexibility in a draft where between our pick at 11 and the way we’re looking at this draft at pick 23, we think there’s going to be some really good players available, if we were just to stay at those positions and take players, maybe a quarterback, maybe a couple defensive players,” O’Connell said on Monday’s The Insiders, wisely keeping his target range vague while on the record. “I think it’s going to be a big-time offensive draft at the top, so when those marquee defensive players start to go, could be in a range around that 11th pick for us, but I think it was about flexibility.”
It was intriguing, though, to hear O’Connell admit the trade-up scenario is very much a possibility, provided they find a party interested in doing business with them.
“Yes, we want to, if we identify a player that we would like to go up and try to add to our football team — first and foremost, there’s got to be a willing partner to do that and I think there’s going to be processes that play out, conversations here and onto the future,” O’Connell continued. “We’ll figure out if we’re able to do that, but yeah, I think it was ultimately of having the flexibility of having two ones in what we think is a really strong draft, and I don’t think we’re the only ones that view this draft like that.”
“Always been a fan of Sam going back to — you know, I’ve known him for a long time — watching him progress through his college career and then ultimately being a high draft pick, having done a full process on him then,” O’Connell said of the former No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft. “We all go through a quarterback journey in this league, and I use that term very lightly for myself, as well. But it’s a journey where you learn and you continue to grow, and ultimately you just want to find yourself in a position in the future to be the best version of yourself and all the things you’ve learned along the way.
“I think Sam’s at that point in his career. I think his best football is ahead of him because of how he’s handled the last couple years, whether it’s going 4-2 down the stretch in Carolina in ‘22, or when you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco, you can tell Kyle (Shanahan), Brian Griese — these guys did a great job in the next phase of his career. Fundamentals, techniques; things that you look for to see growth.
“I’m excited to get going with Sam because I think we can pick up where he left off last year. Like I’ve talked about already, love the group of guys that we have around the quarterback position in our offense right now, and I think it’s a going to be a really positive situation for Sam.”

Kyler Murray Traded to Vikings, McCarthy to Cardinals in Tannenbaum’s GM Mock Draft

In his mock draft posted on Tuesday, the former NFL general manager projected the Vikings to trade the No. 11 overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals for Kyler Murray and the 66th overall pick in the 2024 draft.
Tannenbaum’s scenario has the Cardinals using the fourth pick to take Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy as Murray’s successor:
“So here’s my proposition to clear some cap space for the Cards, officially start the McCarthy era in Arizona and fix the Vikings’ QB issue. In my mind, the No. 11 pick for Murray straight up is too rich, and No. 23—Minnesota’s other first-rounder—on its own is not enough. So I’m attaching that third-rounder to the No. 11 pick to level this out. It’s similar to what the Cardinals did during the 2022 draft, when they traded their first-round pick (No. 23) to Baltimore for receiver Marquise Brown and a third-rounder.”
There are flaws to this proposed trade by Tannenbaum. The Vikings are currently $16.8 million under the cap. Murray, who is entering the first season of the five-year, $230.5 million extension he originally signed in July 2022, will count $49.1 million against the cap next season.

This writer does not do enough research. Kyler would only cost 38.8M against the cap so the Vikings would have to restructure before the trade.

Murray is due in cash (which is all the Vikings are responsible for) 38.8M, 32.6M, 42.5M, 36.3M, and 46.3M.

These would be the cap hits too.

The Vikings could restructure 35M of his 37M salary spreading it over 5 years.

The cap hits would be 9M, 39.6M, 49.5M, 43.3M, and 53.3M.

Easily doable.

I’d offer 23 for Murray easily.

Contract details for OLB Jihad Ward revealed

Details have emerged outlining the particulars of the Ward contract. It’s a one-year deal worth a total of $1.79 million. Included in that number is a $1.34 million base salary, with $600K of that guaranteed at signing. The deal also includes a $400K signing bonus along with $50K in workout bonuses.

Matthew Coller: Kevin O’Connell can’t have ‘stubborn mindset’ going into QB process

“If [trading up] is not something we’re able to get done, as we continue to go through the rest of the process, evaluating what it looks like at pick 11, what it may look like off of a trade back from pick 11, what it may look like at 23, possibly trading up from 23, trading back from 23… with that move that [Adofo-Mensah] made to get pick 23 was about the flexibility,” O’Connell said.
“My job in this process is to evaluate the quarterbacks, build relationships with these guys, really envision what it’s going to look like for the longterm with that player being a Minnesota Viking, figuring out how that fits in comparison with each and every one of them,” O’Connell said.
How will he go about that evaluation process? O’Connell explained what goes into the individual QB visits.
“A lot of times if you just turn on flip on the tape, give them the clicker and have them take you through it,” O’Connell said. “You can ask them questions in real time and see how fast they either remember things, how fast they’re digesting the information or the question you’re asking. How clearly and articulate can they put that information into real tangible things that then I can use as a coach for feedback to help them in the future.”
O’Connell contiued…
“I think there’s value of them learning basically a foreign language in a lot of ways, our system, parts of our system that then you can then go on the grass and see if they understand how we want to set our feet and eyes on this drop or what kind of, when we talk about pocket movement, what that looks like when we talk about on schedule versus off schedule, red zone third down, like how it fits within the framework of not our system, but the system that we want to build for them.”
“I would just caution folks in understanding that the NFL will and always will be a passing league and the skill sets to impact the game that I see continue to be guys that can play in on rhythm, on schedule, but also allow their athletic ability to change the game from a standpoint of making plays that maybe other people can’t,” O’Connell said.

Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell Offers Reality Check on Sam Darnold

“When you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco, you can tell – Kyle, Brian Griese – the kid’s did a great job in the next phase of his career. Fundamentals, techniques – things you look at to see growth. I’m excited to get going with Sam because I think we can pick up where he left off last year. … I think it’s going to be a really really positive situation for Sam.”
“At the same time, an exciting time for our organization to be looking towards the future in a way where maybe we select a player in this year’s draft, maybe we continue to build our team around a lot of really good skill position players, some really good foundational players.
“I love what [General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah] was able to do, especially on the defensive side of the ball, for us in free agency. And for me as the offensive guy, it never hurts to have Aaron Jones in your backfield. Regardless of how you design an offense, there’s some really cool things you can do with a player like that. So it’s a exciting time for us.”

Patriots draft profile: Michael Penix Jr. might be the best pure thrower in the draft

NFL Draft 2024 Rumors: Michael Penix Jr. Intrigues a Lot of Teams Ahead of Pro Day

2024 NFL Draft quarterback deep dive: Michael Penix Jr, Washington

How Michael Penix Jr. shot to the top of many NFL draft boards

And if there is one thing Penix has proven above all, it’s that he can perform under pressure. In fact, no college quarterback last year did so as consistently.
It’s one thing to have success behind center when the games don’t mean as much — as was the case with Heisman winner Daniels of LSU, which lost two of its first five contests. It’s another thing to have success when all the games matter but you’re winning most of them in blowout fashion, as was the case with Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.
But Penix? He won 14 consecutive games during a season in which A) 10 consecutive contests were decided by 10 points or fewer, and B) the offense — scratch that, the team — was almost fully dependent on the passing game. Penix never failed to deliver until the natty (during which he appeared injured), which is why he earned my Heisman vote.
The draft is all just guesswork, no matter how educated the guess. But Penix has shown that, if he’s truly healthy, he’s as dangerous as anyone in the game.
In other words, if teams sleep on him now, they may lose sleep over him later.

2024 NFL Draft: College-to-pro projections for Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

Yore Mock

Minnesota Receives: 2024: Round 1, Pick 5; 2024: Round 3, Pick 69
Los Angeles Receives: 2024: Round 1, Pick 11; 2024: Round 1, Pick 23
Minnesota Receives: 2024: Round 3, Pick 72; 2024: Round 6, Pick 185
New York Receives: 2024: Round 3, Pick 69
Minnesota Receives: 2024: Round 4, Pick 132; 2024: Round 6, Pick 176
San Francisco Receives: 2024: Round 4, Pick 129

5. Jayden Daniels QB LSU 6’4” 210

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Louisiana State
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

72. Adisa Isaac EDGE Penn State 6’4” 247

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

108. Jermaine Burton WR Alabama 6’0” 196

NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

132. Zak Zinter IOL Michigan 6’6’ 309

Michigan v Maryland
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

157. Elijah Jones CB Boston College 6’1.6” 182

Boston College v Temple
Photo by Cody Glenn/Getty Images

167. Isaac Guerendo RB Louisville 5’11.6” 220

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 DIRECTV Holiday Bowl - Louisville vs USC
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

176. Khristian Boyd DL Northern Iowa 6’2.1” 320

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 East-West Shrine Bowl
Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

177. Tanor Bortolini IOL Wisconsin 6’3.7” 305

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Wisconsin at Indiana
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

185. Curtis Jacobs LB Penn State 6’1.0” 230

Rutgers v Penn State
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

230. Evan Williams S Oregon 5’11.3” 202

Oregon State v Oregon
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

232. Joshua Karty K Stanford 6’1.6” 208

Notre Dame v Stanford
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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Originally posted on Daily Norseman