Commanders Reportedly Out on Jayden Daniels at No. 2

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Around this time, exactly one month from today, Minnesota Vikings fans will be watching the “On the Clock” counter on the left side of the ESPN or NFL Network ticker, waiting for the Vikings draft slot to come up.

Exactly what time commissioner Roger Goodell walks to the podium with a Minnesota Vikings draft card in his hands is still very much TBD. Currently, they hold the No. 11 and No. 23 picks, but there is a lot of steam recently connecting the Vikings to two different picks inside the top-5, No. 3 (Patriots) and No. 5 (Chargers).

The cost difference between those two slots is expected to be a first round pick in 2025. If the Vikings settle at 5, they can probably get there by packaging the No. 11 and No. 23 picks. If they want to get to No. 3, it’s believed they will have to offer their 2025 first on top. That’s why the Washington Commanders’ decision at pick No. 2 is so important.

Commanders aren’t interested in Jayden Daniels…?

jayden daniels minnesota vikings rumors
Photo: USA Today Sports Credit: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

For most of the offseason, it’s been widely believed that the new decision makers in DC have had their eyes set on LSU’s Jayden Daniels. That’s left those same draft experts to theorize on whether the Minnesota Vikings prefer Drake Maye (UNC) or JJ McCarthy (Michigan). Most have had McCarthy at a tier below Maye and Daniels, and much more likely to be had at pick No. 5.

Related: NFL Insider Floats a Vikings Double Trade into Top-3 on Draft Night

But all the steam coming out of the NFL League Meetings on Monday in Orlando is pushing a different plan for Washington. It started early this morning when, as part of his prediction that the Vikings trade up to No. 3 on draft night, NFL insider Dan Graziano (ESPN) also put the Commanders on Drake Maye at No. 2, not Jayden Daniels, leaving Minnesota with an LSU franchise QB to pair with their LSU franchise WR.

The Vikings will package three first-rounders (including future years) and move up to No. 3. I could see Washington pulling a bit of a surprise in selecting Maye at No. 2, and the Vikings ending with Daniels to pair with Jefferson — two LSU products — in this offense for years to come.

Dan Graziano – ESPN+

If Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trades up to No. 3 and Washington takes Drake Maye at 2, that would leave (assuming the Bears went Caleb Williams at No. 1) that would leave head coach Kevin O’Connell with his choice of quarterbacks between Daniels and JJ McCarthy.

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But not so fast, says (one of us) Tom Pelissero (NFL Network). His sources confirm that the Washington Commanders are not interested in taking Jayden Daniels at No. 2. But instead of Drake Maye being their target, Pelissero puts them on McCarthy.

When I’ve had conversations here (at the league meetings), with executives from other teams who know Adam Peters well, know the situation well, the most popular answer for what [the Commanders] do at No. 2 is JJ McCarthy.”

Tom Pelissero – The Insiders (NFL Network)

Is Tom talking to the right people or is Dan? That question is yet to be answered and we may not know until draft night what team preferred which QB prospect, but one narrative that is clearly being pushed down in Orlando is that the Washington Commanders plan on passing on Jayden Daniels at No. 3.

If true, Minnesota Vikings could be licking their chops

And remember, there has been an underlying current all offseason that has the Minnesota Vikings preference being the LSU quarterback. We’ve seen that reported by at least two local insiders, both Alec Lewis (The Athletic) and Darren Wolfson (SKOR North).

If true, there’s at least one team that is hoping and praying the latest steam out of Orlando is true.

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