Even though two-loss Notre Dame is not even close to a College Football Playoff team, many of the best minds in the NFL are congregating to South Bend this weekend. This is somewhat about scouting offensive tackle Joe Alt, but most about seeing what visiting quarterback Caleb Williams can do for the USC Trojans vs. the Fighting Irish. One team watching him is the Minnesota Vikings.
Yes, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is among the handful of NFL front office executives watching this rivalry game unfold in South Bend on Saturday. He is joined by Brandon Beane of the Buffalo Bills, Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears and Joe Schoen of the New York Giants. Buffalo is not going to take Williams, but Chicago and New York do appear to have some interest, too.
While the Bears and Giants moving off Justin Fields and Daniel Jones this offseason could be a tad clunky, the Vikings are in pretty good shape to move off their franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins if they feel so inclined. He is in the last year of his contract. Cousins could also be a trade candidate mid-season if the Vikings are totally out of it and a contender needs a new, stop-gap quarterback.
If Williams went to the Vikings, we could potentially see them become the NFC's Kansas City Chiefs.
As long as Kevin O'Connell is on the same page with Adofo-Mensah, this change of guard at quarterback could be what it takes to get Minnesota back to its first Super Bowl in decades.
Minnesota Vikings GM watching Caleb Williams take on Notre Dame
Look. It would serve any general manager possibly looking to upgrade the quarterback position in the spring to see the top prospect that position has to offer in the upcoming draft. Williams could technically return to school for one more season, but going to a franchise with the infrastructure like the Vikings have would certainly make it easier for him to just turn pro. This is an ideal landing spot for him.
With regards to Poles being in South Bend, isn't he morally obligated to be there? Notre Dame is not that far from Chicago. They love drafting linemen and don't have the quarterback position settled just yet. Justin Fields has been more down than up for them over the last two years and change. I don't trust the Bears brass any further than I can throw them, but this is a good time to gather some intel.
And when it comes to Beane and Schoen being in attendance, these dudes are buds, and they may have circled the calendar back at the combine that this was the one game they would watch in person together. Regardless, the Vikings feel like one of the few teams that could conceivably end up with the No. 1 overall pick and draft Williams. They may have to trade up for him, but he is so worth it.
Adofo-Mensah may live to blow it up like a kid at a science fair, but this may be all part of his big plan.