The Minnesota Vikings could be looking to replace Kirk Cousins with former Florida star Anthony Richardson in the 2023 NFL Draft.
If you had your doubts about Richardson going in the first round this spring, his Freakazoid! showing at the NFL combine brought a swift end to that. To be quite frank, there is no way he makes it out of the top 10 now. We are about to live in a world where four quarterbacks are among the first 10 picks this year. Minnesota will need to trade up, but the Vikings did their homework.
Darren Wolfson of SKOR North reported that Minnesota did meet with Richardson at the combine.
It does feel like a reach the Vikings would trade up to draft Richardson, but there is more to this…
Minnesota Vikings could look to replace Kirk Cousins with Anthony Richardson
Admittedly, there is no reason for the Vikings to trade up for Richardson. They have a great thing going with Cousins, who is still playing at a very high level into his mid-30s. Eventually, he will fall off a cliff physically, and the Vikings will go back to being the Vikings at the quarterback position, hoping whatever guy they bring can be some variation of Fran Tarkenton or Daunte Culpepper.
But for some reason, if Richardson were to fall well outside of the top half of the first round, it may actually serve the Vikings to move up ever so slightly from No. 23 to take the project quarterback out of Florida. Doing so would be this draft’s rough equivalent of the Green Bay Packers trading up to draft Jordan Love out of Utah State when they still had Aaron Rodgers…
However, from a long-term standpoint, drafting Richardson and having him sit behind Cousins would not be the worst thing in the world. Just imagine the Vikings getting Warren Moon or Randall Cunningham in the midst of his athletic prime. Given that Kevin O’Connell is a savvy offensive-minded head coach, surely, he could devise something to make it work with him.
Where I think the biggest issue arises is that Cousins and Richardson do not play like one another. Winning in the NFL is so hard, and it can be even more challenging if a backup’s game does not complement the starter’s. Cousins’ benchmark is accuracy and precision, while Richardson will make plays with his legs in addition to his arm. The timing of it all works, but the fit is not ideal.
Ultimately, Minnesota is in an advantageous position to take a flier on a project quarterback like Richardson other teams may not be so sold on. Then again, he could be exactly what teams like the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers are looking for at the quarterback position. Keep in mind that Cousins’ former team of Washington could be in play for drafting Richardson as well.
If Richardson’s game complemented Cousins’ even one bit, then there could be something here.