Some Believe Vikings Will Be Scouting OPPOSING QB This Weekend for a Trade

Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings lost Preseason Game No. 1 to the Seattle Seahawks last week, 24-13. They’ll turn sights to the Tennessee Titans this week for joint practices in Eagan and an official preseason showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Some Believe Vikings Will Be Scouting OPPOSING QB This Weekend for a Trade

And while Vikings fans monitor Jordan Addison, Ivan Pace Jr., and Andrew Booth, among others, during the Titans festivities, one fringe theory suggests Minnesota will be scouting the other team’s quarterback for personnel purposes down the road Malik Willis.

That’s right. Willis-to-Vikings via trade at unknown time is the latest rumor, and here’s the skinny.

Why Willis?

Will Be Scouting
George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings employ a quarterback in Kirk Cousins not under contract after this season. If everything stays as-is, Cousins can walk to any NFL team in free agency next March. Meanwhile, Jaren Hall is the only heir apparent to Cousins on the depth chart, and he’s a 5th-Round draft pick, also known as a lottery ticket for eventual QB1 trajectory.

In theory, Cousins could walk to another team next year like the San Francisco 49ers or New England Patriots and the Vikings would have nothing at QB1 besides Hall, the 2024 NFL Draft around the bend, or trading for a player like Kyler Murray (if the Arizona Cardinals 2023 season goes pear-shaped and they draft Caleb Williams).

Trading for Willis sometime before this year’s deadline or exploring a swap next offseason would be the idea, evidently labeling him as the Vikings quarterback of the future. Willis was all the craze during the lead-up to the 2022 NFL Draft but curiously fell to Round 3. Even the Vikings passed him by a couple of times on the draft clock.

Whose Theory?

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

The Willis hubbub has unsurprisingly circulated on social media, especially the X app, formerly known as Twitter. And again this is all because Cousins is playing on the final year of his contract in 2023.

The Viking Age provided the theory some legs this week. Adam Patrick opined, “The Titans hired a new general manager earlier this year in Ran Carthon, and during the NFL Draft this past April, he went ahead and selected former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis in the second round. With Carthon not being part of the Tennessee front office when they drafted Willis, some believe he could be the odd man out, and they could look to trade him in the near future.”

For inquiring minds, Willis is 24 years old.

“If the Titans do end up trying to move on from Willis, perhaps Carthon and Adofo-Mensah, two people who spent part of their past working together in the San Francisco 49ers front office, will attempt to work out a deal that results in the Vikings potentially acquiring their franchise’s next great quarterback,” Patrick concluded.

In May, a few days after the 2023 NFL Draft, The Draft Network listed the Vikings as one of three teams that should swing a deal for Willis, in addition to the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. So, the Willis-in-purple fodder has twisted in the rumor mill for a while, albeit in the shadows. It’s only front and center this week because of the joint practices and preseason meeting afoot.

The Reality?

George Walker IV /

Ultimately, the Vikings front office is the placitum of any Willis trade, and indeed, Adofo-Mensah has shown an affinity for trading late-round draft capital, acquiring young, once-promising players. See: Jalen Reagor and Ross Blacklock last summer.

The connection to Carthon is intriguing and would create a communication pipeline for the trade.

However, the latest on-the-field memories of Willis are atrocious. He couldn’t even make it on the field down the stretch of the Titans 2022 season when Ryan Tannehill was injured. Joshua Dobbs got the nod at quarterback, and that assignment should’ve been given to Willis. But he simply wasn’t ready. When he did play in 2022, the output was woeful.

Hypothetically, Willis could set the rest of the preseason on fire, leading to a Vikings trade. But it’s significantly more likely that the Vikings either extend Cousins in 2024 or draft ‘the next guy’ in eight months.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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