The Latest Vikings QB Trade Theory Involves a Familiar Name

Trade for Trey
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The Minnesota Vikings will likely roll into September with Kirk Cousins at quarterback for a sixth consecutive season, but because the franchise chose not to extend him beyond 2023, his future is less clear than ever in purple.

Cousins could play out his contract and hit free agency next March, play out his contract and get re-signed by the Vikings — or be involved in a trade beforehand.

The Latest Vikings QB Trade Theory Involves a Familiar Name

And according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the trade possibility was more than just another fringe offseason theory. Meanwhile, the hypothetical Cousins trade could involve a name familiar to Vikings fans — Trey Lance from the San Francisco 49ers.

Trade Theory Involves
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In a video titled, ‘Trey Lance needs a fresh start from the San Francisco 49ers,’ Florio and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms discussed the potential of a Lance trade this offseason. Florio mentioned, “Apparently, at the scouting combine, there was some chatter, there was some noise among people within the broader league structure — not media but people in the league — about Cousins being traded to the 49ers. That was a hot topic at one point in Indianapolis.”

Lance is a native Minnesotan and attended North Dakota State.

When the NFL Combine transpired, the Vikings hadn’t done anything with Cousins’ contract but later conducted a cap conversion, pushing $28.5 million off the 2023 books and into the future as a dead cap hit. If Cousins walks via free agency next year, Minnesota will incur $28.5 million dead cap with Cousins absent from the team. Yes, it was the proverbial “kick the can down the road” initiative.

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Why would the 49ers trade Lance, a man they donated a king’s ransom to the Miami Dolphins for less than two years ago? Well, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan onboarded Lance as the QB1 solution in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he simply hasn’t been that in 2021 or 2022. The team leaned on Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021, handed Lance the keys in 2022, he got hurt, and the then-anonymous Brock Purdy took the field and played like Tom Brady.

It seems San Francisco may be wise enough not to stubbornly cling to Lance — after it traded the farm for him — when Purdy looks promising and affordable.

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Simultaneously, to thicken the plot and hedge the bet against quarterback injuries, the 49ers also signed Sam Darnold after the NFL Combine, so the QB room westerly includes Lance, Purdy, and Darnold — and nobody knows who will start Week 1.

The NFL Combine is firmly in the rearview, and a full free agency period has occurred, meaning a swap of Cousins for Lance is wildly less likely now. But stranger things have happened than a pre-draft trade between two teams contemplating QB next steps.

Shanahan said in 2021 about Cousins, his former coworker, “To say that my prototypical guy is someone like Kirk Cousins. I mean, that’s just, everyone knows my history with Kirk. We drafted him in the 4th round in Washington.”

“I got to coach him for three games. And then, we were fired, I left, I thought we’d have a chance to get him [in San Francisco] in free agency, and I would have loved to have him in free agency until Jimmy came along the year before. Because I thought we could have won with him, just like Minnesota has,” Shanahan added two years ago.

So long as Cousins is productive and Shanahan has not locked down his QB1 spot, Vikings-49ers trade theories will persist.

Or — Shanahan can alas sign Cousins on the open free-agent market in 11.5 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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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