Thursday began with some great NFC North quarterback news for the Minnesota Vikings, with Aaron Rodgers' unhappiness in Green Bay becoming the story of the afternoon. Unfortunately, the day ended with some bad news in that department: former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is a Chicago Bear.
Considered by some analysts to be the second-best QB in this draft, Fields (unsurprisingly) didn't go in the top three picks, as the selections of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance got things started in the first round. The Falcons, Bengals, Dolphins, and Lions followed that by taking non-quarterback offensive players.
Then came the Panthers at 8, and the first realistic landing spot for Fields. Yes, they traded for Sam Darnold, but Fields has a much higher ceiling. Instead of pulling the trigger, Carolina went with cornerback Jaycee Horn. The Broncos were up next. George Paton has Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, but could've easily taken a shot on Fields. He went with a cornerback too, taking Patrick Surtain.
At ten, the Eagles traded up two spots, but not for Fields — for wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
At this point, there was a large, vocal section of the Vikings' fanbase imploring Rick Spielman to go get Fields, giving Minnesota its quarterback of the future and a reason to move on from Kirk Cousins' huge contract in the near future. The Vikings didn't do it. Instead, the Bears came up from 20 to 11, sacrificing a future first-rounder and other picks to land Fields. After whiffing on Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are smartly taking another swing at the sport's most important position.
Landing Fields at No. 11 was a steal for the Bears that should frighten fans of every other team in the division.
For the Vikings, in particular, you have to wonder if there will come a day where they regret passing up on the opportunity to go get Fields, especially since he went to one of their rivals. They did well to trade back and land a stud left tackle in Christian Darrisaw, but that "what if?" will always be out there.
Minnesota reportedly had interest in Fields, as plugged-in local reporter Darren Wolfson from KSTP indicates here.
After picking Darrisaw, Spielman said they were working the phones and looked into trading up. Whether that would've been for an offensive lineman or a quarterback, he wouldn't say. Regardless, they clearly weren't interested enough in Fields to make a deal happen. It might've taken a future first, and only time will tell if that's a price that would've been worth paying.
Maybe the Vikings would've taken Fields at 14 had he made it there. We'll never know, because the Bears acted aggressively and got their guy.
The Vikings didn't need Fields this year. They have Cousins, who is a borderline top-ten QB despite a limited ceiling and the oft-mentioned contract. Landing Darrisaw to protect Cousins' blind side — and picking up two more third-rounders in the process — will make them better in 2021.
If Fields busts like Trubisky before him, the Bears will continue to struggle and the Vikings will look smart for navigating Thursday night the way they did.
I think the opposite outcome is more likely. If Fields becomes a star in Chicago and the Vikings continue to languish under Cousins until eventually replacing him in the coming years, they'll look back at this night and wonder why they didn't beat the Bears to the punch.
We'll find out the answer soon enough.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.