We’re fast approaching the 2019 NFL Draft.
The first round of the annual event will begin at 7 p.m. (CT) on April 25 in Nashville.
The Miller Lite Vikings Draft Party will coincide with the opening night. It is scheduled from 6 to 11 p.m. on April 25 at U.S. Bank Stadium and will feature live coverage of the draft by “Voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen and KFAN. Tickets are available for purchase here.
The second and third rounds will be held on April 26, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. (CT).
The fourth round will start at 11 a.m. (CT) on April 27 and be followed by Rounds 5-7.
The Vikings currently have eight selections in the draft, beginning with the 18th overall pick.
Vikings.com is taking a glance at the top prospects at each position leading up to the draft.
April 11: Running backs
April 12: Tight ends
April 15: Quarterbacks
April 16: Wide receivers
April 17: Offensive tackles
April 18: Centers and guards
April 19: Defensive tackles
April 22: Defensive ends/edge rushers
April 23: Linebackers
April 24: Cornerbacks
April 25: Safeties
Where the Vikings Stand
The Vikings currently have three quarterbacks on the roster. Kirk Cousins is firmly entrenched as the starter and will enter the second season of a three-year deal. Cousins put up impressive numbers in 2018 as he set a franchise record with 425 completions and tied a record of 606 attempts. He racked up 4,298 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and a passer rating of 99.7, which is fourth-best in team history. Veteran backup Sean Mannion signed with Minnesota today after spending four seasons with the Rams. Kyle Sloter is entering his third season with the Vikings but he hasn’t played in a regular-season game.
Recent Draft History (over past five years)
Total number of quarterbacks taken: 59
Round 1: 16 (5 in 2018, 3 in 2017, 3 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 3 in 2014)
Round 2: 4 (0 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 1 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 2 in 2014)
Round 3: 7 (1 in 2018, 2 in 2017, 2 in 2016, 2 in 2015, 0 in 2014)
Round 4: 8 (1 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 3 in 2016, 1 in 2015, 2 in 2014)
Round 5: 6 (1 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 1 in 2016, 1 in 2015, 2 in 2014)
Round 6: 12 (2 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 4 in 2016, 0 in 2015, 5 in 2014)
Round 7: 6 (3 in 2018, 1 in 2017, 1 in 2016, 1 in 2015, 0 in 2014)
In looking at the first three picks in each of the past five drafts, seven of the 15 players drafted have been quarterbacks. More than 25 percent of all quarterbacks drafted in this span have come in the first round. Teams also look for late-round fliers that have potential, as 40.7 percent of quarterbacks taken have been in the final three rounds.
The Prospects (based on rankings by Dane Brugler of The Athletic)
1. Dwayne Haskins
Ohio State, Redshirt Sophomore, 6-foot-3, 231 pounds
2018 stats: completed 373 of 533 passes (70.0 percent) for 4,831 yards (led FBS) with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions; tied for FBS lead with 324 points responsible for and ranked second with 26.6 completions per game
Quotable: “Personally as a quarterback, I feel you have to be a distributor. So I find ways to get the ball to everybody. Me in the pocket is more fun to me than trying to run for a touchdown or me running for a first down. I like to see guys make plays. So that is how I feel as a quarterback.” — Haskins on his playing style
Expert take: “Haskins makes playing quarterback look easy because he is so naturally gifted, but his inexperience also shows. While he showed improvements climbing the pocket, maneuvering vs. pressure isn’t yet a strength to his game with inconsistent results throwing off-script.” — Brugler
2. Kyler Murray
Oklahoma, Redshirt Junior, 5-foot-10, 207 pounds
2018 stats: completed 260 of 377 passes (69.0 percent) for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions; rushed for 1,001 yards on 140 attempts (7.2 yards per carry) with 12 touchdowns; led FBS in total offense (383.0 yards per game); tied Haskins for FBS lead with 324 points responsible for, yards per completion (16.8) and yards per attempt (11.6); ranked second with an NCAA passer rating of 199.2
Quotable: “I’ve never been the biggest guy on the field. I’m always the smallest guy on the field. I’ve said it multiple times, I feel like I’m the most impactful guy on the field. I’m the best player on the field at all times. That’s just the confidence that I have in myself and that my teammates have in me. I’ve always had to play at this height. I don’t know. Everyone’s trying to make it out to be something, but I just have to go out there and play the game that I love.” — Murray on stature
Expert take: “There is no question that he is a pass-first quarterback, but his speed creates problems for the defense and he is ideally suited for an offense willing to incorporate a high percentage of sprints, boots and option plays. Regardless if throwing on the move or with an established base, Murray has an organic feel for using ball speeds to put the pass on his target, showing above average velocity and accuracy.” — Brugler
3. Drew Lock
Missouri, Senior, 6-foot-4, 228 pounds
2018 stats: completed 275 of 437 passes (62.9 percent) for 3,498 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions; ranked 13th in FBS with 206 points responsible for
Quotable: “One of the best things I do is I’m able to make plays out of the pocket. I’m not just the typical guy that’s going to stand in there and take shots. I want to be able to get out of the pocket when the pocket breaks down.”— Lock on extending plays
Deep threat: According to analytics site Pro Football Focus, Lock ranked third among draft-eligible quarterbacks with a passer rating of 126.3 on passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air in 2018.
4. Daniel Jones
Duke, Redshirt Junior, 6-foot-5, 221 pounds
2018 stats: completed 237 of 392 passes (60.5 percent) for 2,674 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions; ranked 26th in FBS with 272.1 total offensive yards per game and 19th with 21.6 completions per game
Quotable: “Football has been a huge part of my life, since I was little. As a kid, I was someone who was undersized and someone who was always struggling to keep up physically … I think learning that toughness, learning that will to compete as a young guy through football is something that shaped me.” — Jones on football impacting his life.
A little help: Jones’ stats suffered from what PFF calculated as a drop rate of 9.2 percent by his Duke teammates, which was the second-worst mark in 2018. That means 36 of 393 passes by Jones were catchable but hit the ground.
5. Will Grier
West Virginia, Redshirt Senior, 6-foot-2, 217 pounds
2018 stats: completed 266 of 397 passes (67.0 percent) for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions; ranked third in FBS with an NCAA passer rating of 175.5 and second with 351.3 passing yards per game; was fifth with an average of 343.1 yards of total offense per game and ninth with 242 points responsible for
Quotable: “I’m not totally sure where people have me. I’m very confident. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in this draft. I would have felt that way if I came out last year. I’m very confident in my abilities. It’s not just about my tape, which is really good, and I think it’s the best tape that there is. But it’s also everything else that goes into playing quarterback that I take pride in.” — Grier on where he’d rank himself in this quarterback class
Making the grade again: Grier’s overall grade of 91.2 from PFF is the second-highest behind Murray among this year’s group. He passed his own personal best grade of 91.1 by the slimmest of margins.
6. Ryan Finley
North Carolina State, Redshirt Senior, 6-foot-4, 213 pounds
2018 stats: completed 326 of 484 passes (67.4 percent) for 3,928 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions; ranked third in FBS with 25.1 completions per game and sixth in total passing yards
Quotable: “Not one in particular. There's a lot of quarterbacks at the NFL level that are doing it in unique ways, so I think you can always be taking a little bit from each of them.”— Finley on if he compares himself to a current NFL quarterback
Ryan’s near repeat: Finley followed his PFF overall grade of 89.3 in 2017 by earning an 89.2 in 2018.
7. Jarrett Stidham
Auburn, Redshirt Junior, 6-foot-2, 218 pounds
2018 stats: completed 224 of 369 passes (60.7 percent) for 2,794 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions; ranked 48th in FBS with 12.5 passing yards per completion
Quotable: ““Honestly, it was just a childhood dream. I felt like in my time at Auburn, I had done what I wanted to do. Well, obviously I wanted to do a little bit more with winning the national championship and winning the SEC championship, but this was my childhood dream. I figured, you should go chase that dream.” — Stidham on his decision to turn pro
Downward trend: After grading out at 89.3 in limited action as a freshman, Stidham redshirted in 2016 and became a starter the following season but his grade dropped to 71.5. It fell again this past season to a 62.3.
8. Tyree Jackson
Buffalo, Redshirt Junior, 6-foot-7, 249 pounds
2018 stats: completed 225 of 407 passes (55.3 percent) for 3,131 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions; ranked 12th in FBS with 214 points responsible for and 13th with 13.9 passing yards per completion
Quotable: “I feel like my ceiling's very high and I'm going to continue to get better. Never having a quarterback coach growing up and … seeing the improvement I've made in [training for the draft] has me really excited about the future and what's in store.”— Jackson on his potential
Aggressive: Jackson ranked second among draft-eligible prospects evaluated by PFF with an average depth of target of 14.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
9. Clayton Thorson
Northwestern, Redshirt Senior, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds
2018 stats: completed 299 of 489 passes (61.1 percent) for 3,183 yards with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; ranked 21st in FBS with 21.4 completions per game and 24th in passing yards
Quotable: “I do not have any social media. I'm a pretty old school guy.” — Thorson on his online presence
Expert take: “Thorson is a balanced passer with smooth footwork and the arm to unleash impressive throws, but he needs to improve his downfield placement and decision-making to live up to his potential. While he is comfortable “dotting the i” with his fastball, he doesn’t show the same timing or touch on layered throws.” — Brugler
10. Gardner Minshew II
Washington State, Senior, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds
2018 stats: completed 468 of 662 passes (70.7 percent) for 4,779 yards with 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions; ranked first in FBS in completions and attempts, second in passing yards, fourth in passing touchdowns
Quotable: “I’d say elevating the guys around you, that’s what it’s all about when playing this position. Taking this team, going 11-2, 11 wins for the first time in school history. That’s what it’s all about, making the guys around you better, that’s how you come to work every day and how you lead.” — Minshew on his leadership goals
Expert take: “There are reasons to doubt him due to his average physical traits and lack of production outside of [Mike] Leach’s system, but Minshew has the requisite passing skills and competitive mentality to earn an NFL roster spot as a reserve.” — Brugler