The 5 Reasons a Trey Lance Trade Makes Sense for Vikings

Sep 11, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) rushes the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Wednesday, “Per a league source, the two teams [Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers] talked about Trey Lance. The source doesn’t know whether that’s currently happening. The Vikings have since restructured the Cousins contract. They’d take a significant cap hit ($38 million) if the Vikings traded Cousins before June 1. But the Vikings need an answer for 2024, and beyond. It’s unclear whether they truly think Lance could be the answer.”

Unsurprisingly, that fueled speculation that Lance, 22, could end up with the Vikings via trade in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The 5 Reasons a Trey Lance Trade Makes Sense for Vikings

Here’s why that idea actually makes sense.

1. Low Risk

4 Reasons a Trey
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings spend any amount of 1st-Round draft capital on the next quarterback after Kirk Cousins in 2023 or 2024, the plan involves substantial risk. Of course, that’s fine and should be expected when pivoting away from a consistent veteran quarterback like Cousins.

But Lance should be gettable for a 2nd- or 3rd-Round pick. Swinging a deal for the North Dakota State alumnus eliminates 1st-Round risk and allows Adofo-Mensah to “have it both ways.” Should Lance show up to QB1 duties in 2024 and underperform, it will have only cost the Vikings a non-1st-Round pick.

A Lance strikeout would not feel like a ginormous gaffe on Adofo-Mensah’s young record if he isn’t productive or continues to get hurt.

2. Lance Is a Rookie’s Age

5 Reasons a Trey
Dec 24, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) during warmups before the start of the first quarter against the Washington Commanders at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Trey Lance is 22 years old. He turns 23 next month. That’s younger than the two quarterbacks linked to the Vikings during this draft cycle, Will Levis and Hendon Hooker.

Lance can be sold to the Vikings fanbase as a veteran with two years of NFL experience for the price of a rookie. And in a draft oddly featuring “old” quarterbacks, this means something. The team wouldn’t have to lament Hooker playing his first Vikings playoff game at the age of 27 or 28 (January 2025 or 2026). Lance would be the guy at an age comparable to a rookie from this draft. Again — the best of both worlds.

3. Adofo-Mensah’s Ties to the 49ers

Feb 9, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan pose for a photo during a press conference at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah started his NFL life in San Francisco. He knows these people. The 49ers drafted Lance after Adofo-Mensah left, so there isn’t quite the total connection.

Still, if the Vikings boss can get along with any front office out of 31, it should be San Francisco’s. Minnesota has a need for a young quarterback, and San Francisco is evidently listening to offers about selling one.

This is perhaps the smoking gun for any Lance trade to Minnesota. Kwesi knows people.

4. Don’t Have to Trade Cousins

Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and center Garrett Bradbury (56) take practice snaps before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Vikings trade Cousins before June 1st, they inflict an $18.5 cap penalty upon themselves, gutting any available cap space to -$17.2 million (at least at the moment). And that’s before signing a 2023 draft class. They cannot trade Cousins until the summer — if they even want to in the first place.

With a Lance trade, Cousins can run the show for 2023 — the plan all along — with eyes on Lance for 2024. This would also be the gig for a 2023 rookie quarterback, so the ideas merge.

On the whole, Lance doesn’t have to start in 2023. He’ll have one more year to heal, and a 35-year-old Cousins can toss his 30+ touchdowns inside the Vikings offense once again.

5. ‘Competitive Rebuild’ Philosophy Personified

4 Potential Trade Partners for the Vikings in the NFL Draft
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.

Adofo-Mensah often talks about his competitive rebuild mantra. Well, this is it. Onboarding a young veteran quarterback balances the competitive and rebuild words rather nicely. When — or if — Cousins exits the backdoor next March, Minnesota doesn’t have to stare down at a naked quarterback depth chart. It would be Lance ready for action.

In the last 15 months, Adofo-Mensah has scoffed at the notion of a full rebuild. Getting Lance in the building prevents any all-out rebuild from occurring. Especially if he turns out to be good.

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).

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