Paul Allen, radio host of the “Nine to Noon” program on KFAN and voice of the Vikings, said on the air today that the Vikings may not be done making moves.
PA on @KFAN1003 says #Vikings could still make a trade for another “lineman or line-men” before the regular season begins. Suggested a DB could be traded for an experienced, starting OL to protect Kirk Cousins
— Sean Borman (@SeanBoarMan) August 29, 2018
Allen suggested that the team may look to trade a defensive back for an experienced, starting offensive lineman to protect quarterback Kirk Cousins. Now, the topic of debate becomes who that defensive back may be.
Because of the acquisition of safety George Iloka, the Vikings have a surplus of talent in the secondary. It makes sense for the team to trade from a position of strength to address a position of need, but can the right deal be reached?
Possible trade candidates
Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse have to be seen as the likeliest candidates to be traded. Cornerbacks like Holton Hill, Craig James and Horace Richardson could also be traded, but they don’t hold near enough value to receive a starting offensive lineman in return. Their presence and upside, however, make it possible for the team to be comfortable trading one of their upper-tier defensive backs.
Waynes is the only starter in the candidate pool. He also has the most trade value. With the emergence of rookie cornerback Mike Hughes, he may be looked at as a dispensable commodity. However, he’s a former first-rounder, bonafide starter and one of Zimmer’s first draft picks as a head coach. It may be a stretch to think the team would move on from an improving 26 year-old cornerback.
Alexander may be the most plausible trade candidate. He doesn’t have a ton of value to the team if coaches think Hughes can play the slot. Plus, there’s an experienced backup on the roster in veteran Terence Newman. In fact, an article published this morning on NFL.com named Alexander as a “trade candidate.” Here’s what Gregg Rosenthal said of the 24 year-old:
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Minnesota Vikings: First-round pick Mike Hughes might win the starting nickel job, with veteran Terence Newman also coming off the bench. That doesn’t leave much room for 2016 second-rounder Alexander, who suffered an ankle injury that could jeopardize his status for Week 1.
Carrying five safeties on the roster is a lot, even with Iloka playing a hybrid LB role. Could another team be interested in acquiring Harris or Kearse and making them a starting safety? Harris is a restricted free agent following the season, which increases his value to a new team. Plus, his cap hit in 2018 is only $705K. In three starts last season, the 27 year-old earned a 75.4 Pro Football Focus grade.
Kearse, 24, is under contract through the 2019 season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound safety physically fits the mold of what Zimmer likes in a defensive back, but he hasn’t received a ton of playing time. In 15 games played last season he earned a 65.7 PFF grade. It’s highly unlikely a team would give up a starting offensive lineman for Kearse, but he still holds potential that could bring back a decent return for the Vikings in a trade.
Allen may not be 100% accurate when it comes to Vikings rumors, but in the past he has been rather precise with his speculation. Most recently he suggested the team would make a “sneaky trade” for an offensive lineman sometime this preseason. Well, that happened on Sunday when the Vikings traded with the New York Giants to acquire offensive lineman Brett Jones.
Will Allen’s latest conjecture come to fruition? We’ll find out within ten days.