The Vikings Have One Tradeable Asset

The Vikings Have One Tradeable Asset
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The NFL’s trade deadline hits on November 1st, two days after the Minnesota Vikings host the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The franchise isn’t expected to be a major player near the trade deadline, chiefly because the Vikings rank dead last in the NFL per available cap space. They have no money.

Aside from restructuring the contracts of Dalvin Cook or Eric Kendricks, Minnesota’s trade appetite must be limited as most meaningful trade targets carry contracts more expensive than the team can afford.

But general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could sell if he desired. And one player on the active roster could be coveted — offensive guard Chris Reed.

Indianapolis Colts guard Chris Reed (62). © Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings signed Reed in free agency back in April at a time when he was theorized as the long-awaited solution at right guard to remedy the sins of Dakota Dozier, Dru Samia, and Oli Udoh. But four weeks later, Adofo-Mensah drafted Ed Ingram from LSU in the 2nd Round — and that was that. Ingram won the starting RG job in the summer, and Reed has been a bystander since.

And here’s the deal — playoff-contending football teams always need offensive line help. Reed’s resume to date suggests he could bolster a January- and February-bound franchise. This is Reed’s Pro Football Focus resume:

  • 2016 = 53.5
  • 2017 = 50.8
  • 2018 = 57.3
  • 2019 = 70.3
  • 2020 = 63.0
  • 2021 = 67.2

While Reed isn’t Randall McDaniel — few are — his PFF scores in the 60s probably mandate playing time somewhere. Then, glance around the landscape of the NFL and find hopeful franchises requiring OL help:

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • New York Giants
  • New York Jets
  • Tennessee Titans

All of those teams are in the bottom half of PFF’s OL rankings through Week 6 and have at-least-sideways eyes on the postseason.

What's the Broader Plan for Chris Reed?
Chris Reed

Reed can also play center, so his versatility could be sought near the trade deadline. The Vikings wouldn’t net tremendous draft capital for Reed, but Adofo-Mensah is already missing his 4th-, 6th-, and 7th-Round picks in 2023 due to other deals conducted. A Reed transaction could act as a clawback measure.

He also has a $1.75 million cap hit against the Vikings books in 2022, and if Adofo-Mensah wanted to add a different player, offloading Reed’s deal to another team could ease the Vikings cap inflexibility.

Reed hasn’t played at all in 2022 for the Vikings. Not one snap — zero plays on offense and special teams. Zilch. He’s earning money to do nothing — kudos to him, of course — and is only an insurance policy. If the aforementioned Ingram, Garrett Bradbury, or Ezra Cleveland fell injured, Reed would be the next man up. But the Vikings, if they traded Reed for a late-round pick, could use Oli Udoh, Kyle Hinton, or Austin Schlottmann in a pinch.

Minnesota’s coaching staff may value Reed’s presence on the bench as an automatic go-to in the event of OL injuries. But NFL teams will want trench fortification with the trade deadline looming, and Reed is a perfect candidate.

Reed is 30 years old and in his seventh season as a pro.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).