Listen, the Vikings Can Afford to Bring Trey Lance Home.

Oct 31, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) practices before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings face plenty of salary cap questions this offseason. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs space for a revamped defense.

Another Kirk Cousins extension can’t be the answer, but a Minnesota native in Trey Lance certainly could be.

To say that Trey Lance’s career has gone anything close to as planned thus far would be a lie. The former North Dakota State product started just two games in 2021 after being taken third overall and then suffered a season-ending injury after the same amount of starts this past season. With Brock Purdy leading the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship game this year, it’s hard to imagine Kyle Shanahan returning to the injured prospect.

Bring Trey Lance Home
Aug 29, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Enter the Minnesota Vikings.

For the past handful of seasons, the 49ers have dealt with quarterback controversies with blame only to be put on themselves. Lance was selected while Jimmy Garoppolo was still in the building, and despite being connected to trade rumors, he was signed to a handsome backup deal. With Purdy having succeeded in front of a stellar defense, it’s hard to imagine Lance or Garoppolo factoring in next season.

Listen, the Vikings Can Afford to Bring Trey Lance Home.

There is nothing to suggest that Lance can succeed in the NFL. At this point, we simply haven’t seen enough of him to know how he’ll fare. For the Vikings, though, it’s not a point at which they must immediately decide. Rather than trading picks, they don’t have to move up for a quarterback that may be worse than Lance, Minnesota could opt to offer a lesser return for a player that would be welcomed. Lance could sit behind Cousins for a time in 2023 before taking over as the team’s starter in 2024.

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

What Lance also offers Minnesota is an opportunity for cost savings. While a good quarterback, Cousins has been a drain on the Vikings salary cap since he was acquired. Grabbing a top free agent at the most critical position will always come with a substantial price tag. Lance is still on his rookie deal, and even if he were to be extended in a year, the track record isn’t long or successful enough to command a premium.

Evaluating Lance’s production is difficult, given he’s thrown just 102 passes in the NFL. He also missed considerable time at North Dakota due to the oddity of the Covid-shortened season. Minnesota has tape to evaluate, but it would be more of a work in progress, putting additional value on his learning from Cousins. Lance is a good athlete who can move out of the pocket, which is something Vikings fans have desired for years.

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) is carted off the field by medical staff after an injury during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It would be something to see Lance, a Marshall, MN native, come home in the same season that hometown hero Adam Thielen may be jettisoned. Lance was welcomed warmly during Minnesota’s preseason contest with the 49ers, and the Vikings even brought his high school football team to the game. Lance could invigorate a fanbase looking to get behind a quarterback with upside, and seeing him team up with Justin Jefferson for the long haul may be a lot of fun.

There are warts with all of the top quarterbacks in this current draft class, and owning just four picks, it’s hard to see Minnesota spending the capital on getting any of them. They could opt for a more realistic ask in Lance, grab a guy they can establish as their own, and head coach Kevin O’Connell would be able to tie himself to a 22-year-old out to prove something.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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