ESPN’s Trade Prediction for Vikings Is Expensive

Drake Maye
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

One month from tonight, Minnesota Vikings fans should learn the identity of the team’s next quarterback.

ESPN’s Trade Prediction for Vikings Is Expensive

The NFL draft occurs on April 25th, and to date, Minnesota has said goodbye to Kirk Cousins, who bolted for the lure of money in Atlanta, signed patchover passer Sam Darnold from free agency, and fired off a trade with the Houston Texans, grabbing an additional 1st-Round pick while sending two 2nd-Rounders in the deal, plus a late-round pick swap.

Trade Prediction
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s a lot of quarterback jostling.

And according to ESPN, the Vikings aren’t finished with the quarterback-plan bonanza. The sports media giant published an article on Monday, predicting Minnesota’s trade next steps, and the consensus suggested the Vikings will have to trade three 1st-Rounders — probably to New England at the No. 3 hole — sometime between now and draft night.

Dan Graziano led the way with a Vikings trade prediction, “The Vikings will package three first-rounders (including future years) and move up to No. 3. I could see Washington pulling a bit of a surprise in selecting Maye at No. 2, and the Vikings ending with Daniels to pair with Jefferson — two LSU products — in this offense for years to come.”

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings haven’t drafted a quarterback in Round 1 since Teddy Bridgewater 10 years ago.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid echoed Graziano, “I’m with you here, Dan. I’m watching for the Vikings to present the Patriots with an offer that they can’t refuse — No. 11, No. 23, a 2025 first-rounder and an added Day 3 pick this year to jump to No. 3 in order to select Maye or Daniels. With a bridge QB in Darnold already in place, the new QB wouldn’t need to be rushed along, and Minnesota has a near-perfect surrounding setup for a rookie QB.”

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s not a binary choice — Minnesota could secretly love Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix behind the scenes — but most Vikings fans have decided in the last week and a half that the purple team will ultimately pick Drake Maye from North Carolina or J.J. McCarthy from Michigan. Those two feel the most gettable if Caleb Williams (USC) goes to Chicago and Jayden Daniels (LSU) heads to Washington.

Kevin Seifert rounded out the ESPN predictions fun with a slightly different take: “I have the Vikings moving up to No. 4 and taking whoever is left between Daniels, Maye and McCarthy, each of whom would benefit from developing under O’Connell and sitting behind Darnold for part — or even all — of their rookie season.”

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Seifert is correct that Darnold may see more 2024 action than most Vikings faithful perceive. Men like C.J. Stroud and Justin Herbert have raised the bar in recent yeans for quarterbacks experiencing action in Year No. 1. Darnold, though, was probably signed for a reason at his $10 million pricepoint, so it wouldn’t be weird one bit if Darnold takes the QB1 title and the new quarterback watches and learns longer than most would enjoy.

Of all quarterbacks in this draft, Minnesota is most likely to end up with McCarthy, according to oddsmakers.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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