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Tommy Kramer thinks Vikings should avoid QB in first round, bring in Gardner Minshew

'If they can get Kirk for 30 million, great, if not ... draft a QB in the 2nd round and bring in Minshew for a couple years.'

Former Vikings QB Tommy Kramer thinks Minnesota should prioritize the offensive line, not quarterback, in the upcoming draft.

In a series of tweets, Kramer thinks the Vikings should wait until the 2nd round of later to draft a quarterback, bringing in a project prospect instead and then signing free agent Gardner Minshew as the starter for the next couple of years.

"I would like to see the Vikings draft the kid from Penn State or Notre Dame [in the first round]. It all starts in the trenches, you need to be able to run the ball, good offensive line is a must," Kramer tweeted Thursday.

The Penn State and Notre Dame kids Kramer is referencing are Olu Fashanu and Joe Alt. Both are considered top 10 prospects by The Athletic's Dane Brugler.

The only issue with those two players is that they both are tackles and with Christian Darrisaw and Brian O'Neill, the Vikings are pretty set at the tackle position. It's the interior that still needs a little bit of work.

Darrisaw and O'Neill had the third and 25th best pass blocking grades among tackles across the league. Guards Dalton Risner and Ed Ingram came in with the 22nd and 37th best pass block grades among guards, though Risner didn't allow a sack all season after taking over in Week 5. Garrett Bradbury finished with the 20th best pass blocking grade among centers in 2023.

Overall Minnesota had one of the best blocking units in the league in 2023 with Pro Football Focus giving them a 74.4 pass block grade, third highest in the league. To Kramer's point, run blocking is where the Vikings line dipped, earning a 65.0 run block grade which was still 10th best in the league.

Moving tackle prospects inside hasn't always worked out, especially in the Vikings case (read: Ezra Cleveland, Oli Udoh, etc.). According to Brugler the best guard prospects are valued in the late first, early second round range. Reaching at No. 11 for a lower first round prospect is not the best plan for building a solid team.

Kramer did follow up saying: "Sorry, I know we have good tackles, I just meant O-Line."

As for quarterback, Kramer doesn't think money above $30 million for Kirk Cousins would represent value to the Vikings.

"If they can get Kirk for 30 million, great, if not, let Kirk get his money which he deserves somewhere else, he earned it," continued Kramer. "Draft a QB in the 2nd round and bring in Minshew for a couple years."

Getting Kirk to agree to a deal that pays him just $30 million would be the veteran taking a significant hometown discount considering there has been speculation he could be seeking $40+ million per year on his next deal.

Despite rehabbing from an Achilles injury and starting next season at 36-years-old, Cousins won't come cheap as he'll be the best free agent QB on the market with a number of QB needy teams having plenty of available cap space.

A bridge QB like Gardner Minshew or Baker Mayfield is looking more and more like the route the Vikings might have to take if they want to stay cap compliant.

While the idea of getting a second-round quarterback seemed like a plausible plan with the plethora of QB talent in this draft, the two best hopes for that, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix, have been raising their draft stock at Senior Bowl this week.

Hopes for landing one of the so-called second-tier of QB prospects in the second-round could be dashed if Penix and Nix continue to rise on draft boards.

Kirk Cousins

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.