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NFL rumors: Draft insider has Vikings replacing Kirk Cousins with surprise pick

One NFL Draft insider is replacing Kirk Cousins on the Minnesota Vikings with Hendon Hooker.

With Kirk Cousins on his last year of his deal with the Minnesota Vikings, there is a chance his replacement could be taken in the early part of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network released his latest mock draft on Tuesday. There is so much to unpack in his well-informed mock draft, but one thing that should draw your attention is who the Vikings are taking at No. 23. It would be the fifth-best quarterback prospect in this draft class in SEC Player of the Year in former Tennessee Volunteers star Hendon Hooker, who will be … 26 …

So when a teetotaler replaces Cousins with Hooker on the Vikings, you will have some questions.

Is this actually a good move for the Vikings or is Jeremiah being force-fed some bad intel here?

NFL rumors: Insider has Vikings replacing Kirk Cousins with Hendon Hooker

Jeremiah has the Carolina Panthers doing the unthinkable in getting Frank Reich to draft short dude Bryce Young No. 1 overall. That has C.J. Stroud going No. 2 to the Houston Texans, quickly followed by Anthony Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 4. While it took until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picking at No. 19 for Will Levis to be taken, Hooker was not that far behind him.

Let’s be real. Had Hooker not suffered a ghastly knee injury in the brutal loss to division rival South Carolina, he would have been a sure-fire first-round pick. Hooker would have been a Heisman Trophy finalist. Frankly, he should have been one anyway. His age and injury are the two major detractors in him being a realistic top-31 pick this year, but Jeremiah knows things that we do not.

Hooker would play for a former NFL quarterback in Kevin O’Connell, while Cousins would hit free agency for one last bite at the apple in his mid-30s before enjoying retirement. Minnesota may want to retain Cousins beyond this year, but Hooker can already rent a car before accepting his first professional paycheck. The point in drafting him high is to play him early like Kenny Pickett.

Minnesota has other needs to fill, but the Vikings are not situated at quarterback in the long term.

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