Latest ESPN Mock Draft Is Wild for the Vikings

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If the Minnesota Vikings are willing to part ways with their 23rd overall pick and backup quarterback Nick Mullens, they can evidently land quarterback Trey Lance and three draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, according to ESPN.

That’s the latest and greatest mock draft theory, and it might be the most unique one yet.

Latest ESPN Mock Draft Is Wild for the Vikings

NFL: Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted yesterday that the San Francisco 49ers are listening to trade offers for the 22-year-old Lance, while Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio affirmed a Lance trade was discussed by the Vikings at the NFL Combine.

Draft Is Wild
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And coming off the steam of those mini-bombshells, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell capitalized by finding a way via mock draft for the Vikings to land Lance, keep Kirk Cousins, and add draft picks — quite the nifty magic trick. This is the theoretical trade haul, per Barnwell:

  • Vikings get: QB Trey Lance, 3-102, 6-216 (from SF), 2-63 (from PHI)
  • 49ers get: 1-23, QB Nick Mullens (from MIN)
  • Eagles get: 3-99, 3-101 (from SF), 2025 fourth-round pick (from MIN)
Trade for Trey
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Barwell explained the three-way swap, “Here’s how the Vikings get their quarterback of the future and the 49ers get back into the first day of the draft. It feels like this three-way trade should somehow involve Kirk Cousins ending up with the 49ers, but cap constraints on both sides make that impossible.”

“The Vikings would package pick Nos. 99 and 101 alongside a future fourth-rounder in a deal with the Eagles to move up to the bottom of Round 2. Minnesota would end up with no first-round pick and selections toward the bottom of the second and third rounds, but it would also land Lance, a long-term replacement for Cousins,” Barnwell continued.

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He finished the Vikings train of thought + the 49ers involvement, “The 49ers would give up on Lance, but they would move forward for now with Mullens, Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold as their options under center before considering a reunion between Cousins and Kyle Shanahan in free agency next year.”

Believe it or not, this all checks out, especially for the Vikings sake. Lance is younger than this year’s rookie quarterback Will Levis and Hendon Hooker, two men linked to Minnesota via mock draft. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would also get to spend an additional 2nd- and 3rd-Rounder this year in the draft while holstering Lance as the plan for life after Kirk Cousins.

The hoard of compensatory picks awarded to the 49ers in March makes the deal possible, in theory. If any team objects to Barnwell’s scenario, it would likely be San Francisco, who appears to give up more than the Vikings or Eagles.

And as you envision Cousins’ role with the Vikings, plus his impending free agency next offseason, remember that he can join the 49ers outright next March with no trade capital involved.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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