Vikings, Raiders Reported as Most Desperate to Trade Up for QB… but Only Jayden Daniels?

jayden daniels minnesota vikings rumors
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings need a quarterback… a line I feel like I am starting 75% of my articles with these days. But a new report Thursday morning, the day after Jayden Daniels’ pro day (LSU) and day of Drake Maye’s (UNC), may give us a better idea of who the Vikings are targeting at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft.

On ESPN Thursday morning, NFL insider Dan Graziano has made it clear that the Washington Commanders are not sold on taking Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 overall pick. That they are still ‘going through their evaluation process’ on quarterbacks in this class. What he does know, is Washington still plans to take a QB, they just don’t know who yet.

He then reports that the Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders are the two team most desperately trying to move up and slot in right behind the Commanders. But their desperation, Graz reports, is based on who the Commanders draft at No. 2.

Minnesota Vikings only interested in Jayden Daniels at No. 3?

Then, the ESPN insider takes his report a step further, in a way that (clearly) is leading the audience to believe that the Vikings may not be interested in swapping picks with the Patriots, unless it’s Jayden Daniels who is still available. That if it’s Drake Maye, they may not be interested in trading the farm.

Christine: Which teams are you hearing that might move up to take their franchise quarterback?

Graziano: The two that you hear most strongly, Christine, are the Minnesota Vikings and the Las Vegas Raiders. Now, those would be big jumps for both of those teams. And it could really depend on what happens at the very top. If we assume Caleb Williams goes first to the bears, then what does Washington do? If Washington takes Jayden Daniels, that might make the Vikings, or the Raiders, less motivated to go up if Daniels is the guy they like over Drake Maye.

SportsCenter – ESPN

The first part of the report, that the Vikings are one of two teams desperate to move up, is news by itself. Remember, Kevin O’Connell spent the last few days in Orlando at the NFL League Meetings, trying to convince everyone who would listen that his general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will not send a Herschel Walker type package to a team in the top-5, should that be the cost to move up.

Related: Vikings Have Speed Date Scheduled with Jayden Daniels After LSU Pro Day

Desperation? Not in Eagan… ‘We love Sam Darnold and feel good about our offensive weapons, blah, blah, blah. But Graziano’s report pushes back against all of that coach speak. But then he gets to the fun part, in addressing who ‘their guy’ might actually be, which seems to be the same QB.

“If Washington takes Maye and the Vikings and Raiders both want Daniels, all of a sudden that Patriots pick at number three becomes very valuable. Remember, the Vikings have already acquired a second 1st-round pick in a trade a couple weeks ago with Houston. So that gives them extra ammunition to move up if they want to.

And the Raiders, they know Jaden Daniels, Antonio Pierce, their head coach, was on Herm Edwards Arizona State coaching staff when Daniels began his college career at Arizona State. So those are two teams that have the motivation and the means to move up if they want.”

SportsCenter – ESPN

The first part, about the Vikings and Raiders trying to move up, is hard reporting. Dan probably asked sources inside the Pats organization who is calling and inquiring the most, and he was told that it’s the Raiders and Vikings, but that it has to be the right guy.

Graziano clearly believes Vikings, Raiders both targeting Daniels, not Maye

Jayden Daniels minnesota vikings rumors
Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

But the stuff about Jayden Daniels vs Drake Maye comes from months of snooping around all over the place, probably. It would have been very easy for Graziano to swap Maye and Daniels around a couple times, in order to make them seem interchangeable, depending on each team’s preference.

Or he could have said that teams have interest in both. or that we don’t know which guy either team prefers, etc. The options are endless. Instead, Graz continues to lean into Jayden over Drake. And he did the same thing on Get Up right after the hit you saw above. Exact same vernacular. Careful, precise, so that the right message comes across.

Related: Jayden Daniels’ Pro Day Draws Mixed Reviews

He goes into the Raiders liking Daniels because of past experience with him among the coaching staff, among other things. Without a doubt, he’s trying to push steam toward Daniels and away from Maye, without actually reporting that the Raiders and Vikings definitely prefer him. and you can tell by the way he phrases it. Does this mean the Vikings are out on Maye? What about JJ McCarthy?

There’s no way to know. But the reason why Kwesi did not pull a double-trade up, immediately after acquiring the No. 23 overall pick a couple weeks ago, had more to do with uncertainty with teams at the top of the draft board than it did anything else. If the Commanders don’t know who they want, it’s hard to make a move unless you have equal interest in all players available… which they don’t seem to have.

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