Potential Vikings QB of the Future Could Be Available via Trade
Kirk Cousins has been the Vikings’ quarterback for the last five seasons and is still under contract for another year. However, he is turning 35 years old before the next season kicks off, so general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has to prepare for the future. A potential dropoff can happen at any time at that age.
His first draft pick is scheduled to be at position 23, so the top guys in the upcoming draft will be off the board, barring a gigantic trade. For that reason, the Vikings could look at the trade market to find a successor for Cousins. Possibly the most intriguing and talented backup quarterback could be available.
Potential Vikings QB of the Future Could Be Available Via Trade
The San Francisco 49ers held the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, a draft that was considered an elite one for quarterbacks. Kyle Shanahan’s operation just came from a lost season in which starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo once again missed significant parts of the season. For that reason, the 49ers packaged three first-round picks to trade up for the third overall pick, formerly held by the Miami Dolphins.
The first two selections were Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, which were expected for months leading up to the draft. That third pick, however, was unknown until commissioner Roger Goodell announced the selection. Shanahan and 49ers GM John Lynch had the chance to select Justin Fields or Mac Jones from big schools Ohio State and Alabama but chose to add Trey Lance from North Dakota State University.
Lance was viewed as a raw prospect with great potential because of his dual-threat ability. The quarterback started only one season for NDSU in 2019. His 2020 season was limited to only one game because of COVID-19.
In that one season, Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, and didn’t throw a single interception. Lance added 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. His ability to make big plays, take care of the ball, and rush made him the third overall pick despite the small sample size.
To start his NFL career, he lost the competition for the starting spot to Jimmy Garoppolo. He appeared in six games, mainly as a gadget player that came in to run the ball. Lance replaced Garoppolo in two games as the starter when he was hurt and began the 2022 campaign as the 49ers signal caller.
Unfortunately, Lance fractured his ankle in the season’s second game and required surgery. His season ended in that game against the Seattle Seahawks.
He threw for 797 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in his limited snaps in the two years with the 49ers and rushed for 235 yards and another score.
After the injury, Garoppolo was supposed to replace him for the remainder of the season, but he suffered a broken foot and also missed time. Brock Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 draft, had to come into the game.
He has played marvelous football since and is currently leading the 49ers into the NFC Championship game. He’s running Shanahan’s offensive system at an extremely high level, and San Francisco may want to move on from Lance and hand the key to the franchise to Purdy. If that is the case, having a former top pick on the team would be an unnecessary distraction, so shipping him away for some draft picks would be the right way to go.
Lance’s trade value should be lower than ever after only playing a handful of games in the last two professional seasons and his final season in college combined. However, it’s possible that the 49ers still want a first-rounder for Lance.
If the Vikings can get him for anything less than a first-round pick, they should immediately pull the trigger on the quarterback with a lot of upside. He could sit one year behind veteran Kirk Cousins, work on understanding the system, improve his mechanics, and then take over in 2024.
An additional wrinkle is that Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah worked for the 49ers between 2013 and 2019 and knows 49ers GM John Lynch well, something that increases the probability even more.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt