Reports: Maye or McCarthy are the targets of the Vikings draft trade, which is centered on Pats and Cards.

Maye or McCarthy are the targets of the Vikings draft trade, which is centered on Pats and Cards.

It appears that the Vikings have narrowed their search for a franchise quarterback to two options.

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; An END RACISM sticker is shown on the helmet of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

The Minnesota Vikings, who have a strategy in place to select their franchise quarterback, are reportedly concentrated on making a trade into the top five of this year’s selection.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Matt Miller report that there is “buzz” surrounding the “rumor” that the Vikings will package their 23rd overall pick (acquired in Friday’s trade with the Houston Texans) and their 11th overall pick (acquired in Friday’s trade with the Vikings) to move into the top five selections and draft either Drake Maye of North Carolina or J.J. McCarthy of Michigan.

“There is considerable buzz about Minnesota trying to move into the top five to secure a quarterback such as McCarthy or potentially Maye/[Jayden Daniels] if either falls past New England,” Miller stated. “With two first-round picks, the Vikings now own the draft capital to fly up the board for a quarterback.”

In addition, Graziano said that the Vikings’ purchase of a second first-round pick has made the competition to select the fourth quarterback available “heated up” and given them an advantage over any other team attempting to trade up, particularly the Denver Broncos, who have the 12th overall pick.

“The [Denver] Broncos simply can’t compete with the Vikings’ draft capital in the 2024 class and would have to blow a team away with 2025 and/or 2026 picks in any attempt to trade up,” Graziano stated. “The better move for Denver may be trying to trade down the board and recoup draft picks and select Oregon’s Bo Nix somewhere lower in the order.”

The Vikings are in the lead in the draft, but it remains to be seen with whom they will make trades. The Chicago Bears unofficially signaled they will select Caleb Williams first overall when they traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick, making the first pick of the draft more obvious.

After trading Sam Howell to the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend, the Washington Commanders also showed their hand. All indications lead to a quarterback for the Commanders, even if it is unknown who they will select with the second overall pick.

The second overall pick is presumably going to stay with Washington, according to Jackson McIntire of Pro Football Focus, who also noted on Saturday that trade talks have mostly focused on the New England Patriots’ third overall pick.

The Arizona Cardinals own the fourth overall pick, and Miller stated that there is “rumor” throughout the league that the Vikings are trading up to that pick. According to McIntire, the Vikings had discussed a trade “to a lesser degree” with the Cardinals during the last few days.

This sets up a situation that might be decided by the outcome of the draft. If Jayden Daniels isn’t available, the Patriots may trade down from the third overall pick, which might give the Vikings a chance to select Maye, according to Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.

“I have heard further that several scouts from the Patriots organization are not fans of Maye, who really struggled down the stretch of the season,” stated Pauline. “The fact that several people mentioned in conversation, not all, are sold on Maye makes this significant.”

The Vikings could still trade up with the Cardinals and choose McCarthy if Maye ends up with the Commanders with the second overall pick or if the report is just “smoke” meant to mislead other teams about Maye’s perceived value by the Patriots.

After leading the Wolverines to a national championship last season with 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns passing, Michigan quarterback McCarthy is a divisive prospect. However, Graziano pointed out that McCarthy has a lot of support from front offices around the league and may be selected in the top 10 this year.

Following the scouting combine, Graziano tweeted, “I think teams are higher on McCarthy than a lot of people on the outside think and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him picked in the top 10.”

There are several options for the Vikings to get their quarterback of the future from here, and supporters will be watching with bated breath to see which route Minnesota chooses to replace Kirk Cousins.

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