Can the Vikings Retry the Quarterback Trade?

NFC Rivals Could Play Spoiler to Ideal Vikings Draft Scenario
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah the team's year-end press conference for the 2022 season after losing to the New York Giants in the playoffs.

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings went into the year with veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins on a one-year extension. He was expected to lead the team throughout the full season, but one quarterback reportedly caused the front office to look at trading up. It didn’t come to fruition, but could that play out in 2024?

Can the Vikings Retry the Quarterback Trade?

While Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud were long seen as the top of the 2023 NFL draft class when it came to signal callers, Florida’s Anthony Richardson shot up draft boards with each workout and film session. Ultimately, the Indianapolis Colts grabbed his services, but differing reports have suggested that Minnesota was ready to mortgage the future, thinking he was their guy.

Can the Vikings Retry
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Obviously, Richardson isn’t going anywhere, and despite having been hurt relatively early on during his rookie season, the Colts aren’t turning their franchise over to Gardner Minshew. Indianapolis will be thrilled to get a healthy Richardson back under center next season, and the limited action saw him flash plenty of the tools that had him as a draft darling.

Similar to 2023, two quarterbacks are seen as the top of this class, but the overall group is much deeper. Minnesota doesn’t need to trade up to the first or second spot to land Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, but they could target the expected third guy at the position. With a strong pipeline on the roster from LSU, why not add another in the form of Jayden Daniels?

The Heisman trophy winner leaves college after accounting for 50 touchdowns in his senior season. He put up a gaudy 40/4 TD/INT through the air while adding another 10 on the ground after generating more than 1,100 rushing yards. Daniels transferred to LSU after three years with Arizona State in the Pac-12, and he really exploded this past season.

Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports.

After debuting with LSU during the 2022 season, Daniels compiled 3,900 yards through the air in 2023, nearly 1,000 clear of his first season total. The 17/3 TD/INT ratio got left in the dust, and even his 68.6% completion rate was trumped to a 72.2% mark. To say he put up one of the best college football seasons we have ever seen would be hitting the nail on the head.

Because of his strong senior season, teams view him as the clear-cut third quarterback in this draft. While Bo Nix, J.J. McCarthy, and Michael Penix could all go in the first round as well, none are expected to join Williams and Maye in the top 10. Daniels has an outside chance to be taken within the first five picks, and there is little reason to believe he will still be available when Minnesota drafts at 11th overall.

Last season, Richardson was nabbed with the 4th overall pick, and something similar could play out with Daniels. Moving up seven spots for the Vikings will come at a substantial cost, but that could be worth exploring if he allows the franchise to reset the salary cap hit at the quarterback position. Regardless of what happens with Kirk Cousins in the near term, he won’t be an answer for much longer. If Minnesota can get cheaper at the quarterback position while getting similar or better production, the rest of the roster will benefit.

Lottery Ticket QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

How Kevin O’Connell would manage a mobile quarterback remains to be seen. He showed some less-than-ideal results as time went on with Josh Dobbs, but someone like Daniels should certainly have a much higher ceiling, and the head coach would get more runway to prepare for that to be the gameplan on a weekly basis.

If the reports that Richardson was Minnesota’s guy a year ago are to be believed, it’s not a stretch to think Daniels could be next, and maybe they don’t want to be denied twice.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.