Vikings Finally Land One of Their Unique Private Workouts with LSU QB Jayden Daniels

Jayden Daniels, Minnesota Vikings NFL Draft rumors
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are looking for their quarterback of the future, just in case you haven’t heard, and they’ve been HEAVILY involved with a handful of the top quarterback prospects projected to go in or around the 1st round of the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25.

But no doubt, they’ve had more extensive interaction with some, more than others. For example, Vikings QB coach Josh McCown attended the pro days of all six top quarterbacks, Caleb Williams (USC), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (UNC), JJ McCarthy (Michigan), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon).

The rest of the Vikings staff involved in scouting, evaluating and drafting a QB — like general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and (more importantly) head coach Kevin O’Connell — sidestepped all pro days this spring, opting to meet and workout prospects, no matter their position, via top-30 visits or private workouts, where they have more control over what they are being shown by these guys.

Minnesota Vikings take fresh approach to QB evaluations

jayden daniels heisman
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s something that longtime NFL Draft insider, Matt Miller (ESPN), has never seen before, which I find interesting. He makes it clear, though, that their approach makes sense and that he’s a big fan, in theory.

It’s no secret the Vikings need a quarterback and are expected to be aggressive in adding one at the draft, but the front office and O’Connell — a former quarterback himself — did not attend pro day workouts of the top quarterbacks. Instead, the Vikings are trying something different. “We want to see them work out in a more intimate setting,” is how a source with the team put it. “Get them a little uncomfortable running our workout vs. theirs.”

Matt Miller – ESPN

When I went to bed on Wednesday night, the Vikings had held or scheduled one of these unique private quarterback workouts with four of the six top quarterbacks in the draft, Maye, McCarthy, Penix and Nix. They had planned to meet with Jayden Daniels after his pro day. For whatever reason, that meeting never happened.

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Vikings get their workout with LSU QB Jayden Daniels

But when I woke up on Thursday and read this piece at ESPN, Matt Miller informed me that the Vikings have either already met with or have a meeting set up with five of six QBs. Caleb Williams, he reports, now stands as the only quarterback prospect they haven’t (and won’t) put a meeting on the books with.

The Vikings have scheduled private workouts with five of the top six QBs (everyone except Caleb Williams) and will use those in-person, one-on-one evaluations with more weight than the traditional pro day circuit. This is the first time I can recall a team intentionally avoiding the pro day noise in lieu of in-person scouting, but I like it. — Miller

Matt Miller – ESPN

If Williams is now the only QB who isn’t meeting with the Vikings, that means they’ve finally gotten a workout on the books with LSU’s Jayden Daniels, who many believe will go No. 2 overall to the Washington Commanders, right behind Caleb.

After this article was posted, Jayden’s private workout with Minnesota was confirmed by Ian Rapoport (NFL Network). Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) advanced the report noting the exact date, next Thursday, April 18, one week from today and one week prior to draft night; along with the rough location: Louisiana.

Minnesota Vikings coaches, scouts and executives have climbed aboard the Wilf private jet and flown out to these quarterbacks, in order to conduct these pre-draft private workouts. They’re racking up the air miles too, landing in out west in Eugene and Seattle, then east in Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill. Now, they’ll fly it south to SEC country.

And we aren’t talking about a quick meet and greet for brunch. Little details are known about what exactly happens during these unique workouts, but it must be extensive because they’ve all reportedly lasted THREE DAYS. You can find a lot out about someone spending three-straight days with them…

Of course, none of that time and effort guarantees the Vikings will hit on whoever they draft, two weeks from today, or that they’ll even be able to land the QB(s) they are targeting.

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There’s no doubt, though, that this organization is doing everything within its power to make sure they don’t swing and miss on April 25. And as a longtime fan of too many dysfunctional teams, that does give my heart a weird sense of comfort. It’s a very foreign feeling.

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