The Vikings selected Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond with the 66th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, Minnesota was looking to take former Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields and was preparing to trade up for him, according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin.
After both the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos passed on Fields with the eighth and ninth pick, respectively, Minnesota's front office reportedly began working the phones in attempt to get in position to select Fields.
However, the Chicago Bears were able to leap ahead of the Vikings by trading their 20th pick, 164th pick, and their first- and fourth-round selection in the 2022 draft to land the 11th overall pick from the New York Giants.
General manager Rick Spielman admitted the Vikings attempted to trade up from the 14th overall pick. While Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater was believed to be one of the targets, the new Chicago Bears quarterback apparently was another prospect the franchise coveted.
While the Vikings were stunned by the Bears trade, they were unwilling to part with the draft capital it would've taken to make the deal, Cronin added.
A Vikings coach let Kirk Cousins know ahead of time that the team was considering taking a quarterback in the draft, multiple sources told Cronin.
After the draft, the Vikings said Cousins remains their starter. The 32-year-old is under contract with the club through 2022 and is set to earn over $56 million the next two seasons.