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How should the Vikings approach the upcoming draft?


Gary Doty, former Duluth mayor, businessman and Bulldogs and Duluth Central football great – "While Kirk Cousins isn’t the exciting type of quarterback that draws attention, his numbers before his injury placed him with the best in the league. Therefore, we need to keep him here and then draft or trade for a quarterback that can learn under Cousins in preparation as his successor. We also need to bring in a running back to back up Ty Chandler, who really hasn’t proven himself yet. In order for our RB and QB to excel, our offensive line needs to be strengthened to protect our 'pocket passer' and open holes for whoever our RB’s end up being. Our defensive line is inadequate, especially in the interior. We need some strong, 'beefy' help. Hopefully we can draft or trade to strengthen the defensive line. As a Monday morning QB I have questioned several player decisions by the front office, so hope they do better going into the new season. Love Kevin O’Connell who seems to be highly respected, especially by players."

Don and James Ness, former Duluth mayor and son – “James and I both want the Vikings to draft a quarterback. James is hoping they’ll trade up to get Jaden Daniels from LSU. Daniels is a great talent, but that cost is too high. I think the Vikings should stay at 11 and draft JJ McCarthy, if he’s still available. If not, then they should trade back to accumulate picks for the defense, then use their second round pick to draft Penix. I’d prioritize bringing Hunter back and signing a high level DT, rather than overpaying Kirk. I’m a Kirk fan, but keeping him around only delays the rebuild that’s needed.”

Arik Forsman, Duluth City Councilor – “All signs are pointing south to Atlanta for Captain Kirk in free agency, which would leave a gaping hole at QB for the purple. The Vikings may need to be aggressive via trade, but this is the year to make sure you leave the 1st Round of the draft with your future franchise QB secured. Look for them to pay a premium to trade up and grab a new signal caller by the name of Maye, Daniels, or McCarthy.”

Steve Battaglia, Cloquet High principal –  “The Vikings need a quarterback and edge rusher/defensive linemen. If we can’t re-sign Cousins, we might need to get aggressive in trying to move up in the draft to get a top QB." 

Mike Zagelmeyer, Hermantown football head coach – "I am not sure what their plans are at quarterback, which would ultimately affect everything else that they do. But let's say they have a plan there (I'm not confident that they do). With the large amount of holes that this team has to fill, they should absolutely take the best player available when it is their time to draft. The only position I view as not needed is wideout, but everything else should be on the table. They obviously need to have a tremendous draft and select an immediate difference maker. But even if they do, as I have said before, I think the Vikings are headed for some pretty rough times ahead."

Dan Urshan, former Hermantown mayor – "I am a big fan of Kirk Cousins but because of his price tag and recent injury, it is time to bring in a top draft choice QB. Money saved should be spent on quality bridge/backup QB and on the defense."

Pete Radosevich, Radosevich Law Office – “With 9 picks, the Vikes can afford to look local for talent. Another local player would be nice; the last one (fullback C.J. Ham) worked out well. Maybe a former Lumberjack or Eskomo? At least 2 picks should have Northern Minnesota roots.”

Fred Friedman, my longtime close, personal friend and a first ballot YMCA Noon Basketball League Hall-of-Famer – "Don’t trade up for the top 3. Too big a gamble and too many holes to fill. Draft an edge rusher or a corner back, both of whom will play for 10 years. If Penix or Nix or McCarthy are available with the 2nd round pick, take the one you prefer. Nothing is more important than signing Hunter long term and Cousins short term. Also resign DJ Wonnum and go free agent to improve the interior offensive and defensive line play. It is impossible to be sympathetic for a team with dozens of draft errors. For every Smith and Jefferson and Page and Eller and McDaniel, there are a dozen Williamsons, Treadwells, Haydens, Underwoods, and Floyds." 

Erik Lofald, Duluth Denfeld football head coach – "I’m really liking the possibility of JJ McCarthy getting drafted by the Vikes. I think his stock is on the rise after the combine so I don’t know if he’ll be available at the 11th pick, but I don’t think we’d have to sacrifice years of picks to move up to say 5th overall to snag him. Then if we sign Kirk, great McCarthy can sit a year. If Kirk walks, which seems like a real possibility now, JJ could maybe start day one."

Jayson Hron, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's all-pro director of communications and marketing – "It’s very difficult to win in the NFL without an excellent quarterback. Kirk Cousins still qualifies, so if the Vikings are playing to win in 2024, he’ll likely need to be re-signed and under center. Assuming Cousins’ return in purple, the team still needs to consider a succession plan, but picking at No. 11 may put Minnesota slightly outside the window for selecting one of the projected 'Big 3' quarterbacks. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may try to trade up in pursuit of a top-tier QB prospect, but if he can’t, then he’ll likely have a choice of high-impact edge defenders at No. 11. That could help address a need, and it would be a safer pick at No. 11 than reaching for a lower-tier QB prospect. Whatever happens, it’s a critically important draft for Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings."

Legendary Bulldogs and Duluth Central lineman and former Duluth police chief Scott Lyons – "Sign Cousins for two years unless he's too expensive. Draft QB or sign Russell Wilson for a year or two."


Vikings release running back Alexander Mattison

By Craig Peters

The Vikings have officially parted ways with running back Alexander Mattison, the team announced Monday.

Mattison's release means he is eligible to sign with another team before free agency opens on March 13 or any time thereafter.

He just completed his fifth season with the Vikings and first as the team's starter at running back. Mattison started 13 of 16 games played in 2023, recording 700 yards on 180 rush attempts (3.9 yards per carry) but did not score a rushing touchdown. He added 30 receptions for 192 yards and three scores on a career-high 44-targets.

A third-round pick (102nd overall) in 2019, Mattison backed up Dalvin Cook from 2019-22 and then was first in line after the team released Cook last year.

He has appeared in 75 regular-season games (19 starts) and totaled 2,370 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. Mattison added 100 receptions for 718 yards and six touchdowns through the air.

The Vikings have Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, Myles Gaskin and DeWayne McBride under contract. Cam Akers, who joined Minnesota during the 2023 season through a trade, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent and is rehabbing a torn Achilles injury he suffered in Week 9 at Atlanta.