Vikings a Vegas Frontrunner for Man of the Hour

Dec 22, 2019; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

Aside from the finalization of the Aaron Rodgers trade to the New York Jets, the next gigantic offseason domino to fall is Lamar Jackson‘s next team.

Baltimore recently placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on the 2019 NFL MVP, meaning any team can offer Jackson a contract and would have to donate two 1st-Rounders to the Ravens for his services — while the Ravens front office can match any offer. Teams have shied away from a Jackson contract because it would allegedly “do the Ravens bidding.” And in the end, most folks believe Jackson will return to Baltimore.

Vikings a Vegas Frontrunner for Man of the Hour

But that doesn’t stop the Jackson theories from circulating, and the Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams believed to be in the sweepstakes.

Vikings a Vegas
Oct 13, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs for a first-quarter touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday, “Another source said that the representative is telling other teams that Lamar is ready to move on from the Ravens.”

“Per multiple sources, a representative for Jackson has contacted more than one team in an effort to spark negotiations aimed at a possible offer sheet. The representative is not certified by the NFL Players Association,” PFT’s Mike Florio explained.

Surprise Suitors
Aug 15, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs past Green Bay Packers defensive back Mike Tyson (32) and defensive end Dean Lowry (94) during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

That makes a Jackson departure from Baltimore a lot more than fantasyland, and sportsbooks have odds accordingly for his next landing spot. Wouldn’t you know it? The Vikings are fourth on the list.

  • Baltimore Ravens: +225
  • Tennessee Titans: +400
  • New England Patriots: +500
  • Minnesota Vikings: +550
  • Indianapolis Colts: +1000
  • New York Jets: +1400
  • Atlanta Falcons: +1500
  • The Field: +575

So, if the Vikings are willing to part with two 1st-Rounders, trade Kirk Cousins to a place of his choosing (he has a no-trade clause), and pay Jackson between $45-$50 million annually, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might just have himself a deal.

NFL's Top QBs after Week 3: PFF, DVOA, EPA+CPOE Formula
Aug 27, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) on the sidelines during the third quarter of the game against the Washington Commanders at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports.

Only a handful of teams would listen to Kirk Cousins-related trade talks “this late in the game” of the offseason, but a few might include the New York Jets, New England Patriots, or Jackson’s Ravens — especially if Jackson bolts. But that’s about it.

Two weeks ago, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin dropped the Vikings into a “deep sleeper” conversation for Jackson’s services, along with 11 other suitors. He explained, “They actually make a lot of sense as a deep sleeper. Kirk Cousins proved more resilient than usual under Kevin O’Connell in 2022, but he’s entering a contract year and has proven, with his resume and reputation as an on-schedule play-action pocket passer, that he fits squarely in the NFL’s middle tier of QBs.”

It appears someone has awoken from the deep sleep, per oddsmakers.

NFL Analyst Hints
Lamar Jackson celebrates at midfield as his jersey number is officially retired Saturday afternoon at halftime of the U of L and Syracuse game. Nov. 13, 2021. © Alton Strupp/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Even more recently, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler opined on the Jackson-to-Vikings hullabaloo. He first offered context, “If for some reason the Aaron Rodgers trade would fall through — nobody expects that — they could pivot to Jackson. And then when you talk about good fits, I asked some executives around the league what teams would make sense. They mention Tennessee, who just cleared some cap space. They have a new GM Ran Carthon, who’s working on the roster. They could use a running quarterback; they have experience with that in the past.”

Then, the Vikings entered the chat, “And even a wild card like Minnesota. Kirk Cousins has one year left on his contract if they want to reestablish their identity there.”

Landing Jackson would involve considerable financial gymnastics for Adofo-Mensah, mainly swallowing a large Cousins’ dead cap hit and juggling upcoming extensions for Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, Danielle Hunter, and Christian Darrisaw. And that’s all on top of paying Jackson his Deshaun Watson-esque pricetag.

But if there’s a will, there’s a way, at least according to sportsbooks.

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