The Vikings Can Upgrade with Trey Lance

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The Minnesota Vikings are going into the 2023 NFL regular season with Kick Cousins in the final year of his contract. What Kevin O’Connell will also likely do is carry three quarterbacks. One of them should be San Francisco 49ers Trey Lance.

The Vikings Can Upgrade with Trey Lance

When the Vikings break camp and embark on the regular season, it stands to reason that they will have Kirk Cousins under center with both Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall backing him up. The Vikings appear poised to carry three quarterbacks, but the reality is that they shouldn’t need more than one. That shouldn’t stop a pursuit of Trey Lance.

Can Upgrade with Trey
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Throughout his career, Cousins has been incredibly durable. More often than not, he is the only starter a team will need. That will likely be the case again this season, and utilizing his backup options as an opportunity for the future seems logical. No matter what he has shown during his NFL career thus far, Mullens isn’t a future answer. However, both Lance and Hall could be.

The Vikings spent a fifth-round pick on Hall during this April’s draft. The talented signal caller from BYU is seen as a project with some exciting upside. However, as a fifth-round pick, there is not a substantial amount of capital tied to him. Similarly to Hall, it could be argued that acquiring Lance, who lost out on the backup quarterback job in favor of Sam Darnold, would cost little more than a fifth-round pick as well.

The Vikings Will Stay Close to Home in 2023
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Lance is a Marshall, MN native and spent his collegiate years playing for North Dakota State University. He was taken with the third overall pick in the 2021 draft, and his track record was uncertain given the Covid-shortened 2020 season. Injuries have been the story of his career thus far, and he has played in just eight professional games with four total starts.

While on the field, Lance has looked the part of a dynamic playmaker. He can make things happen with his legs, and his arm is capable of making NFL throws. For a coach like O’Connell, still seeking an opportunity to develop a quarterback of the future, giving him a pair of options seems plenty exciting.

One would hope the Vikings don’t need to use either Lance or Hall during the 2023 season. However, having both in practice and learning from Cousins could be substantial to their eventual growth. Acquiring Lance would give O’Connell a second protege to work with at the same time, and Minnesota could then make a decision heading into the 2024 season.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks before a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Ultimately, the goal of the Vikings should be to find an heir for Cousins that doesn’t come with an exorbitant price tag. Paying quarterbacks in free agency will always lead to gaudy salary cap numbers, and other parts of the Minnesota roster will suffer. Should either Hall or Lance be capable of taking over a year from now, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would have ample dollars to allocate elsewhere.

Last season, as training camp drew to a close, Adofo-Mensah made some trades that increased the overall water level of the roster on the fringes. Lance would not represent a player expected to elevate the on-field happenings, but he could be the key to another step forward in this competitive rebuild. Rather than guessing on a future fifth-round pick, grabbing something of a known commodity seems like a no-brainer.

The Vikings have been looking for a quarterback to develop since Daunte Culpepper. Adding one with so much former promise could give them their best chance yet. Adofo-Mensah added a former first-round wide receiver last year, and in 2023, he could make a bigger splash at a bigger position.

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.