Don’t Sleep on Minnesota Vikings’ Interest in Jayden Daniels

Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2024 NFL Draft approaches, the Minnesota Vikings fanbase is split on who they want to be the next franchise quarterback. Since the beginning of the process, there have been an exhaustive number of reports linking Minnesota to J.J. McCarthy and Drake Maye.

The rumored interest in both players makes sense. The Vikings have done a ridiculous amount of work on these QBs and Kirk Cousins is gone. They’ve made no secret regarding their plans to draft their new franchise QB come April.

But why the lack of Jayden Daniels steam? Behind the scenes, based on reports from Alec Lewis (The Athletic), the Vikings may even prefer Daniels over both Drake Maye and JJ McCarthy. Yet, there’s no steam on the Vikings + Daniels nationally. But locally, Lewis isn’t the only insider who’s keeping an eye on the Vikings, Jayden Daniels and a possible move into the top-3 next month for Jayden, not Drake.

Don’t sleep on Minnesota Vikings’ interest in Jayden Daniels

On his Thursday scoop session with SKOR North Mackey & Judd Show, local insider Darren “Doogie” Wolfson talked about how he smells something fishy about the lack of chatter behind the Vikings’ interest in Daniels, which he says is still very real, from what he is hearing.

“Of the three, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, and J.J. McCarthy. My sense is the Vikings have pretty strong, good opinions on all three. Now, I’d understand it if Maye is the clear-cut, No. 1 of those three. But I’m telling you, there’s been very, very little Jayden Daniels chatter, and I guess I don’t get it. Like I’m not sitting here dismissing the possibility of Daniels ultimately being the guy here, that’s what I’m saying.”

Darren Wolfson discussing Jayden Daniels to Vikings

Hiding Interest in Jayden Daniels Makes Sense for Minnesota Vikings

From the Minnesota Vikings’ perspective, it makes no sense to publicly inform other teams that they’re enamored with Jayden Daniels, if he is indeed their target. The more that they show interest in trading up for a different QB, the easier it could potentially be to land the LSU/ASU product. That could be what the Vikings are doing their best to avoid here to retain as much draft capital as possible. That would be a chess over checkers move, no doubt.

Related: Which Teams are Most Likely to Steal the Vikings’ Top QB Target in NFL Draft?

Even if there hasn’t been an official visit set up (yet), the Vikings’ reported interest in Daniels comes as no surprise. As mentioned before, the Vikings were one of the first teams to evaluate the dual-threat QB closely in college. His ability to deliver on the run with accuracy, plus his LSU ties, likely made their curiosity grow. But not even the Vikings likely expected the Heisman-winning QB’s stock to rise to these levels where he’s now widely viewed as a top-three pick.

“There’s Vikings interest there. Talk all you want about Maye because of the Josh McCown connection, and we’ve talked about J.J. McCarthy going back to the fall, all the work the Vikings have been doing. And I get it, McCarthy Pro Day tomorrow, the Vikings will have a healthy contingent there, you know, the Albert Breer report initially, and the report is spot on, about the private workout early next week. It’s going to be a very busy Vikings quarterback week next week. So I get it, in the moment, a lot of JJ McCarthy talk. But I’m just saying, don’t sleep on [the Vikings’ interest in] Jayden Daniels.”

Darren Wolfson on SKOR North

Even if the Vikings were sold on Daniels being the guy early on, they were never planning to finish with a top-five pick. But we have seen Kwesi Adofo-Mensah make one bold move by acquiring two first-round picks. Now the question is, can he package 11 + 23 plus more to move up to No. 3 to get what might be the top quarterback on Minnesota’s draft board?

Related: Cardinals GM Makes it Clear to Vikings, Other QB Hungry Teams: ‘We’re Open, Make an Offer’

As Wolfson keenly points out, there just hasn’t been much chatter linking Daniels to the Vikings—or, at least, not at the same level as the reports we’ve seen for McCarthy and Maye. However, as we’ve seen before, just because a team isn’t officially set to visit with a prospect doesn’t mean they’re not secretly plotting to draft him. At this stage in the offseason, it’s all a game, and the Vikings are just playing along.

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