With each passing week, the Vikings look more and more like a team ready to pounce in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Minnesota officially entered the pool of quarterback-needy teams when Kirk Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. The Vikings quickly added Sam Darnold to maintain positional depth, but a far more intriguing move was made after that signing. Minnesota swung a big trade with the Houston Texans, and it now has two first-round picks (No. 11, No. 23) next month.

The deal was widely viewed as Phase 1 of a two-step plan that would see the Vikings move up the first-round board. And comments made by team co-owner Mark Wilf on Monday only fanned the flames on the buzz in the Twin Cities.

“Well, we love Sam Darnold. But when it comes to the quarterback position, it’s certainly critical,” Wilf told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche and Tom Pelissero. “(General manager) Kwesi (Adofo-Mensah) and Coach (Kevin) O’Connell are working hard. We’ve got a plan and Sam Darnold’s part of it. We’re excited he’s in the building. We’re excited we have two first-round picks. So, we’ll see where it all goes. We have a lot of flexibility and we’ll see what happens.”

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If Minnesota is eager to move up, New England is a team to keep an eye on. The Chicago Bears appear dead-set on drafting Caleb Williams at No. 1 and the Washington Commanders don’t seem open to moving out of the second overall spot, so No. 3 might be the first juncture on Draft Day where trades can be made. And Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo recently made it clear that his team is open to listening to offers for the coveted selection.

Drafting a quarterback is a “priority” for New England, and team owner Robert Kraft clearly wants the Patriots to land one of the best prospects at the position. But it sounds like the Vikings will be in touch with Mayo and company in the lead-up to the draft.

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