1 Potential Vikings Trade Partner Is “Open for Business”

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The Minnesota Vikings have acquired some excellent reinforcements in free agency. Signing pass-rushers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel has earned some praise and the addition of Sam Darnold has some upside although he is unlikely to just replace Kirk Cousins’ usual production. But general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s most significant offseason element is yet to come.

1 Potential Vikings Trade Partner Is “Open for Business”

1 Potential Vikings Trade Partner Is "Open for Business"
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When the draft rolls around on April 25, Adofo-Mensah will hold two kings in his hands: overall picks 11 and 23. The recently acquired 23rd overall selection sweetens his 2024 draft ammo as a package of two first-round picks in the same draft is tempting for potential trade partners. His goal is easy. He wants to exchange those two kings for one ace — a top-five pick in the draft.

One of those would guarantee Minnesota the arrival of one of the top four QBs in the class. The third pick, currently owned by the New England Patriots, is popular in Skol Nation because that would land Drake Maye. If the Patriots were accepting a trade.

Arizona Cardinals team owner Michael Bidwill (left) and new general manager Monti Ossenfort (right) pose for a photo with one of the Cardinals helmets during a news conference at Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center in Tempe, on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. © Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

However, if they stick and pick the North Carlina QB, the Vikings would call the next team, the Arizona Cardinals. The team’s general manager is Monti Ossenfort and he was asked by reporters if he would consider trading down. His response was much more straightforward than the usual non-committal talk of an executive:

There will be a big neon sign that says ‘open.’ I don’t like it blinking — that kind of messes with my eyes — but we’ll always have the conversation. We may not get to the point where the deal makes sense, whether it’s at 4 or anywhere we’re picking, but we’re always going to have the conversation.

And if it makes sense and it’s attractive to building our team, then it’s something we’ll certainly consider no matter where we’re at in the draft.

Monti Ossenfort

Minnesota native Ossenfort was appointed GM of the Cardinals in 2023. He used to work in New England during the second half of the dynasty, watching the masterclass of teambuilding firsthand. In his first draft in charge, he shipped his third overall pick to Houston.

Vikings Should Look
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Now one year later, he could be willing to make a similar decision to fill an additional hole by acquiring another first-rounder, and perhaps some change.

The Vikings could use that fourth overall pick to choose Michigan prospect J.J. McCarthy. The national champion has been a controversial figure because he doesn’t quite match the expected statistical numbers of a high draft pick. In the last two campaigns, McCarthy threw for a total of 5,710 yards, 44 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He rushed for eight more scores. Just for comparison, Jayden Daniels, the presumed second overall pick, tabulated 50 total touchdowns in 2023 alone.

The reason for that is obvious, he simply didn’t play in an offense that required him to throw the ball all game. Michigan had a dominant running game and an excellent defense. One thing folks miss when looking at the numbers alone is that McCarthy checks a lot of boxes.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The 21-year-old (the young age is another plus) has the requisite arm strength, accuracy, and mobility to be one of the better QBs in the NFL. More praise draws his mentality that combines a competitive mindset and leadership that is unusual for a young player. His poise in the pocket in clutch moments is what teams are looking for when targeting a passer. McCarthy can play within the structure but also create plays with his legs when a play is breaking down.

Minnesota is the betting favorite to land McCarthy without currently having a draft pick that is high enough to select him which shows how likely Vegas envisions a trade. The Vikings will be prominently featured at Michigan’s pro day and have a private workout with McCarthy.

Sam Darnold is currently the unquestioned starter on the depth chart but there’s a good chance competition will arrive on April 25.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt