Why Trading into Top 10 for a QB Is Unlikely for Vikings

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

The Minnesota Vikings effectively have one year to preemptively plan for life after Kirk Cousins — if they’re in the mood for it.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did not extend Cousins beyond 2023 this offseason, and with Cousins hitting age 35 this summer, this might be his swan song in purple.

Why Trading into Top 10 for a QB Is Unlikely for Vikings

Accordingly, “what they do next” at quarterback is a popular Vikings discussion, as the club could draft a quarterback at the end of the month to sit and learn for one season before taking the mantle in 2024.

And while anything is possible, here’s why Adofo-Mensah trading into the Top 10 for the quarterback of the future is unlikely in 2023.

The ‘Value’ GM

Have a New Draft
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If whichever quarterback becomes a Viking after Kirk Cousins turns into Patrick Mahomes 2.0 or Patrick Mahomes-lite, the pricetag for his services — via trade now or contract then — is irrelevant. Some folks would trade the Vikings next eight 1st-Rounders for Mahomes.

But let’s face it. The next guy won’t be Mahomes because there can only be one.

Trading into the Top 10 will require at least two 1st-Rounders and probably three, at a minimum, if Minnesota wants into C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young territory. Adofo-Mensah could probably send three 1st-Rounders and an extra mid-rounder to the Arizona Cardinals, fetching their No. 3 pick.

Will a man who preaches value really do that, though? He must know taking a swing at a quarterback via trade is wildly hit-and-miss. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t — more on that later. Adofo-Mensah said last year before the draft, “Our job is to do what we can, make sure we get the value we can for the pick.”

“I think ultimately you’re considering known vs. unknown. Free agency is more known because the players have played in the league for at least four years or whatever it is and you know what they are. Draft picks, there are a lot of variants, and they could be better than a free agent or they could be worse, and how does that fit into your time horizon,” Adofo-Mensah also opined at the 2023 NFL Combine.

And during his first free agency, he mentioned, “If the value meets the player, we’ll strike. If it doesn’t, we won’t.”

Unless he has a crystal ball, trading oodles of high-round draft assets doesn’t correlate with a value-based GM’s mindset.

Limited Draft Capital

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The Vikings have five draft picks. Teams start drafts with at least seven. Minnesota is missing two, mainly because of trades for T.J. Hockenson and Akayleb Evans.

Of all years for the Vikings to alas ponder a sexy QB-trade splash, this isn’t the one. It can be — if Adofo-Mensah mortgages 2024 and 2025 to get his man. But as-is, five draft picks while missing a 2nd-Rounder is an upside-down year to make a run at a trade inside the Top 10.

Minnesota must fill out the depth portion of its roster at cornerback, off-ball linebacker, and wide receiver during this draft. Trading picks and ignoring those spots isn’t congruent with a team low on draft capital.

If Adofo-Mensah had a full platter of picks, chiefly a 2nd-Rounder in tow, climbing into the Top 10 via trade would make more sense. But he does not.

The Strategy Isn’t Foolproof

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Folks only remember or care about the instances when trading into the Top 10 for a franchise quarterback worked. Focusing only on the Holy Grail of what could be, the naughty examples fall by the wayside. Because Vikings fans aren’t Jacksonville Jaguars experts, they do not care that the Jaguars traded the farm for Blaine Gabbert 12 years ago. Well, Jacksonville did, and it was an atrocity.

These are the QBs drafted since 2005, when one team trades into the Top 10 from outside of the Top 10:

  • Trey Lance (2021)
  • Josh Rosen (2018)
  • Josh Allen (2018)
  • Patrick Mahomes (2017)
  • Jared Goff (2016)
  • Blaine Gabbert (2011)
  • Mark Sanchez (2009)

Mahomes and Allen emphatically worked; the others did not, with the exception of Goff, who is decent.

The value general manager taking a swing at a risky proposition feels like a longshot.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.