When the Vikings selected quarterback Nate Stanley out of the University of Iowa in the final round of the 2020 NFL Draft, it marked the first time the team selected a quarterback since 2014.
A few reasons for the selection were some wild connections that Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak had with the 6-foot-4 signal-caller for the Hawkeyes.
Stanley was a guest on this week's episode of the Minnesota Vikings Podcast, where he discussed why he believes he was meant to be a Viking.
"I have a pretty cool connection with him," Stanley said. "My freshman year at Iowa, my offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was Coach Kubiak's coach in college (Greg Davis). Being there with Coach Davis, and his recruiting me, that was also helpful."
Not only did Stanley have a connection with the Vikings offensive coordinator that dates back decades, but he just so happened to take the same flight as the Vikings staff from Minneapolis to Indianapolis to this year's NFL Scouting Combine.
"On the way to the combine I was on the same flight with the Vikings staff, so I talked to Coach Kubiak. I talked to [quarterbacks coach] Klint Kubiak," Stanley laughed. "It was really cool to just interact with them before everything started getting crazy in Indianapolis and hopefully I gave them a good first impression, which I think I did."
Below are three more topics discussed by Stanley on this week's edition of the podcast:
1. Growing up in Wisconsin a Bears fan?
Stanley starred in football, basketball and baseball at Menomonie High School in the state of Wisconsin.
His dad was his mentor in the classroom and on the field, a teacher at his high school and one of his assistant football coaches.
Stanley's father had a big impact on his childhood fandom as well.
"My dad grew up in Illinois about an hour and a half away from Chicago, so growing up, the Bears and the Cubs were on the TV.
"I don't know if you can tell, but there's a Brian Urlacher bobblehead right there," Stanley said. "That's one of my dad's favorite players ever. Although he's a Chicago Bear, he's a Hall of Famer, so I figure it's OK to leave it up. My dad obviously being the role model in sports for me, that was something I just latched onto as a kid."
Although Stanley may bring the Urlacher bobblehead to Minneapolis to support his dad, he assured his ties to the Bears are long gone.
"That went out the window the second I got the phone call from the Vikings," Stanley said.
2. A proven winner in college
One of the traits that stood out to Coach Kubiak about Stanley in the draft process was the fact that he played his best in the games that mattered the most.
Not only was he perfect in all three postseason bowl games in his career at Iowa, but he never lost to three of his biggest rivals in the Big Ten, going a combined 9-0 against Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa State.
"Those rivalry games are huge games, especially when you play in college," Stanley said. "I think something about the fans is awesome, which always gave me that extra energy.
"One thing about playing in Minnesota is those fans are crazy. It's always awesome to play in those games because of the fans. A lot of people from my hometown are Vikings fans through-and-through. I am excited to get to Minneapolis and show them what I can do."
Stanley finished his career (27-12) in 39 starts for the fourth-most wins nationally by a quarterback in the past three seasons.
3. Meshing with Cousins and the QB Room
Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins made sure to reach out to Stanley and welcome him with open arms to the quarterbacks room shortly after his draft selection.
"I can't remember if it was that night or the next morning, but I had a text from him congratulating me, and he shared some personal stories about him and his family," Stanley said. "His mom went to the University of Iowa so he had some connections, which he shared with me and just congratulated me.
"Throughout the next two of three days, Jake Browning and Sean Mannion reached out to me and congratulated me as well."
Stanley has meshed well with the personality of the Vikings quarterback room during offseason virtual meetings.