Bleacher Nation NFL 2023 Mock Draft: Vikings Put Kirk Cousins on the Hot Seat
The Bleacher Nation NFL 2023 Mock Draft will be a running mock draft that spans between now and round one of the NFL Draft. Each of the 31 picks (Miami forfeited their first-round pick due to tampering) will get a dedicated post. Here’s how it’ll work:
- Every pick in the Mock Draft gets its own post. We will do one or two picks per day.
- We will link back to previous posts with a running draft recap.
- This feature will not include trades and will cover the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Vikings are on the clock in the Bleacher Nation NFL Mock Draft …
The Pick Is In
QB Hendon Hooker — Tennessee
Kirk Cousins led the Vikings to a 13-win season in 2022, but the Vikings have still been doing their homework on the QBs in this class. Why? Cousins turns 35 this summer and has voidable years that will allow Minnesota to move on after the 2023 season.
The Vikings draft their QB of the future at No. 23 and secure Kirk Cousins’ successor in Minnesota with this pick. Sitting behind Cousins for a year to learn the pro game and fully recover from a torn ACL could be the perfect setup for Hooker.
Hooker racked up 2,945 passing yards with 31 touchdowns and just three interceptions in 2021 after transferring to Tennessee. He emerged as an early Heisman candidate in 2022, throwing for 3,135 yards with 27 touchdowns, two interceptions, 430 yards, and five scores on the ground before tearing his ACL.
Hooker is tall and sturdy with a big frame and was an accurate volume passer for Tennessee. An aggressive downfield thrower who consistently gives his receivers a shot to come down with the big play. He totaled 13 touchdown passes of 20-plus yards, per PFF (tied for sixth most in the country). Even with the downfield shots, Hooker only had five turnover-worthy plays on 331 attempts. That’s a 1.1 percent TWP rate, which ranked third in the country in 2022.
The one knock on Hooker is that his basic half-field and high-to-low reads at Tennessee fueled his college production and efficiency. So, there is a learning curve awaiting him in the NFL. Still, he would be a solid pick for the Vikings here.
Final Thoughts: Size, strength, and athleticism. Hendon Hooker has all of the physical tools. But his accuracy and decision-making is the best part of his game. He will be a steal in this draft, and “Hooker to Jefferson” might be a nightmarish phrase for the rest of the NFC North in a year or two.
Bleacher Nation’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft
- Carolina Panthers (via CHI) — QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
- Houston Texans — QB Bryce Young, Alabama
- Arizona Cardinals — EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
- Indianapolis Colts — QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
- Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) — DT Jalen Carter, Georgia
- Detroit Lions (via LAR) — EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
- Las Vegas Raiders — QB Will Levis, Kentucky
- Atlanta Falcons — EDGE Myles Murphy, Clemson
- Chicago Bears (via CAR) — CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
- Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) — DT Calijah Kancey, Pitt
- Tennessee Titans — T Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
- Houston Texans (via CLE) — WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
- New York Jets — T Broderick Jones, Georgia
- New England Patriots — CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
- Green Bay Packers — TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
- Washington Commanders — CB Deonte Banks, Maryland
- Pittsburgh Steelers — CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
- Detroit Lions — CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers — S Brian Branch, Alabama
- Seattle Seahawks — EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
- Los Angeles Chargers — WR Jordan Addison, USC
- Baltimore Ravens — WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
- Minnesota Vikings — QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- New York Giants
- Dallas Cowboys
- Buffalo Bills
- Cincinnati Bengals
- New Orleans Saints (via SF)
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Kansas City Chiefs