1st Round QB Hopefuls are Working Hard to Impress Minnesota Vikings at Senior Bowl

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are going into the most important offseason of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s short tenure as general manager, and the biggest questions surround who will be the signal caller for the 2024 squad. Kirk Cousins may or may not back. Either way, the Vikings are expected to take a QB early.

Senior Bowl QBs Battling in front of Minnesota Vikings coaches and executives

How early is still anyone’s guess but nearly the entire organization, including most of the front office, much of the scouting department and the entire coaching staff is in attendance in Mobile, AL this week where a few projected day one QBs are competing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

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There have been multiple quarterbacks linked to the Vikings for the draft, with top names like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels talked about in a possible trade-up, but that would most likely require a move up into the top 3. In the scenario that the Vikings stay put at 11 and take a top defender, there are still multiple directions they can take at the quarterback position.

Bo Nix: Senior Bowl Practice Minnesota Vikings
Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix – Oregon Ducks

One name that has been connected to the Vikings has been Oregon signal caller and Heisman Finalist Bo Nix. The biggest thing going for Nix is his experience, as he has over 50 career starts in 5 collegiate seasons between Auburn and Oregon, but he had many question marks coming into the Senior Bowl, and those came to call on day 1, where he struggled.

Arguably his biggest concern has been his deep ball passing, and those have been highlighted so far in Mobile. Per Bleacher Report, most of Nix’s passes have been short throws, and while he has performed well for the most part in that area, when he has gone deep the throws have not been where they needed to be, missing low, high and behind.

“Nix is not normally this inaccurate on film, but it’s not surprising to see him late to trigger and generally a little anxious as a thrower. Both of those traits track with what he put on film, and both have cranked up in an unfamiliar environment. If there was a competition for the best quarterback in Mobile, Nix wouldn’t be first, second and probably not even third.”

Bleacher Report Scouting Department

But most reports out of Mobile surrounding Nix, especially from Thursday (day 3) have been a lot more positive. Some have even moved him all the way up their QB for the week, saying he has had the most impressive overall week of any QB there.

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Michael Penix Jr. : Senior Bowl Practice
Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Penix Jr – Washington Huskies

Another big name that has been talked about ending up in purple has been national championship runner up QB Michael Penix Jr. After a masterclass of a game in the national semifinal game, Penix Jr struggled in the final, notably with the heavy amount of pressure that Michigan Wolverines threw at him.

But there’s no doubting the impressive numbers he put up the past two seasons, compiling 9,544 yards and 67 touchdowns vs just 19 interceptions. His 65.4 completion percentage is concerning, but not alarming.

What is alarming is the fact that Penix put up those eye-popping numbers at Washington, after a rollercoaster of ups and downs at Indiana, where he totaled just 4,197 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (20 games) over four different seasons. Both of his seasons on the West Coast were individually more impressive than four combined seasons in Bloomington.

Penix is another prospect who has had some question marks coming into this week, most notably his age and injury history, with three of his seasons ending early due to injury, including two torn ACLs. Penix got off to a slow start at the Senior Bowl, struggling with his accuracy early on, but the lefty gunslinger was able to lock in as the week has gone and his reviews have been better in days two and three.

Spencer Rattler : Senior Bowl Practice
Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer Rattler – South Carolina

Then, there’s the darkhorse 1st-round QB talent in Mobile, Spencer Rattler, who nobody has had on their radar as a possible first round pick since pretty much 2021. But that has changed in recent weeks, as steam around the former Sooner/Gamecock is suddenly bursting out of the kettle.

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Rattler threw for 3,186 yards, 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions at South Carolina last season. His 68.9 completion percentage was the best since his redshirt sophomore year in Oklahoma, when he split starter duties with Caleb Williams, who eventually transferred to USC and is expected to be drafted No. 1 overall in April’s draft.

Outside of his 2020 season at Oklahoma, when he threw 28 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions, his QB totals don’t year-over-year don’t necessarily jump off the page. But his 68.5 career completion percentage is rather impressive, as is his 77/32 TD/INT ratio.

Particularly during team drills on Wednesday, Rattler was impressive. He was composed on his dropback, went through his progressions quickly, and was decisive triggering on throws. And on one throw in teams, he rifled a high-velocity laser to Xavier Legette 25 yards down the field, outside the numbers.

Ian Cummings – Pro Football Network
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