ESPN Recommends Trade for Vikings in Draft

The Best Free Agent Vikings Can Still Land
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Minnesota Vikings have five draft packs on the menu for April 27th to 29th, and most teams start the event with at least seven. But general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah swung a few trades during his first year on the job, reducing the number by a couple.

Accordingly, Minnesota is a prime candidate to trade up or down in the draft, a theory enhanced by Adofo-Mensah’s ardor to wheel and deal.

ESPN Recommends Trade for Vikings in Draft

And if the decision were left up to ESPN, the Vikings should trade down during the event, with eyes on more draft picks.

Trade for Vikings in
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell recently discussed whether each NFL team should trade up, trade down, or stay put, and for Minnesota, it was a simple ‘trade down’ declaration.

Barnwell elaborated, “Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah moved all around the first two rounds of the draft a year ago, trading down twice (both times within the NFC North) and moving up once. As someone who was part of the analytics side of the building in San Francisco earlier in his career, it’s easier to imagine Adofo-Mensah making the choice to trade down here, especially if there are teams that want to jump ahead of the Giants for a wide receiver at No. 25.”

The Vikings executed six trades during last year’s draft, the most in the NFL. It’s a reasonable expectation for it to happen again — maybe even at the same rate.

“While the Vikings won 13 games a year ago, a trade up would be less about the 2023 team and more about the seasons that follow. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will be a free agent in 2024, and the only quarterback behind him on the roster is former 49ers backup Nick Mullens. If the Vikings were to try and head way up the board for something significant, it could be for a quarterback,” Barnwell concluded.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah set the tone early last year, trading right off the bat with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers for picks that would lead to Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth, Ed Ingram, and Brian Asamoah. Before that trade bonanza, most considered interdivisional trading rather taboo, but Adofo-Mensah simply didn’t care or agree.

He explained his stance on the practice at this year’s NFL Combine, “I know that, ultimately, your first path to the playoffs is winning your division, right? So you never want, obviously, make your division stronger. But ultimately, the best path I have to the playoffs is putting the best team on the field. So that’s where that starts.”

“I plan on being in this business more than one year, and I want to be able to pick up the phone and call people and do those things. That’s how I dealt in this business; that’s how I dealt in Wall Street. I wasn’t the guy that was gonna call people up, try to see where they were vulnerable to convince them to do something they didn’t want to do,” Adofo-Mensah defended his approach.

Vikings Clearing Cap
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Minnesota has roster needs at cornerback, off-ball linebacker, wide receiver, and interior defensive line, and if it wants to explore the quarterback idea mentioned by Barnwell, it must accumulate draft picks to fill roster-depth holes or send future draft assets to another team for a rookie quarterback. The “Big Four” — C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson — likely won’t fall to the Vikings at No. 23, so Adofo-Mensah would have to dip into his 2024 satchel for a trade.

Generally speaking, a Vikings trade — probably down — in three weeks is incredibly likely. It’s not just an ESPN recommendation; it’s a safe assumption.

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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