A Different Way for the Vikings to Trade Up for a 1st-Round QB

NFL: NFL Draft
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Sticking around at pick No. 11 means that the year’s top trio of QBs — Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels — will almost certainly be gone. The Vikings will thus be thinking long and hard about forfeiting a pile of picks to get into the draft’s top 5.

What happens, though, if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can’t pull off the move to catapult his squad into that position? Does one of Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., or J.J. McCarthy make sense? If not, where do they go with the pick?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Onboarding a defender at 11th makes a ton of sense. After all, the front seven needs a full overhaul, so bringing in a top-tier pass rusher is advisable.

And, to be sure, doing so doesn’t eliminate the chance of trading up into the 1st round to snag a quarterback. The only difference is that instead of leveraging pick No. 11 to get to the very top, Minnesota would leverage pick No. 42 — their 2nd-round selection — to jump into the 32nd spot.

The Overlooked Way for the Vikings to Jump Up for a 1st-Round QB

The idea got some airtime over on PurplePTSD.

Teddy Bridgewater, the recently-retired NFL QB and recently-hired high school coach, was a main inspiration. He arrived in Minnesota as the 32nd selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Vikings moved from 40th to 32nd to pull off the pick. The cost? Just a 4th-round selection — 108th overall — and nothing else. Not bad, eh?

Nov 19, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Fast forward a few years and consider Lamar Jackson, who was also snagged at 32. Baltimore had the wisdom to go snag the future MVP.

The Ravens shipped out their 2018 2nd (52nd), 2018 4th (125th), and 2019 2nd (53rd) for Philadelphia’s 2018 1st (32nd) and 2018 4th (132nd). So, a bit more expensive than what Minnesota did, but John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome pulled off some highway robbery with this transaction.

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The pair of (relatively) recent examples suggest that making the leap from No. 42 to No. 32 — owned by either the Chiefs or 49ers — isn’t nearly as daunting as going from No. 11 to No. 3. (or even No. 5, which looks like a prime trading spot). And, crucially, neither Kansas City nor San Francisco is going to be in the market for a 1st-round QB. In theory, both should give trade offers some consideration.

On Over the Cap, there is a full trade chart that helps to quantify the value of specific picks. Going from 42 (1.106 points) to 32 (1,244 points) represents a discrepancy of 138 points. On the chart, the final pick in the draft — 256th overall — is 190 points, so we’re talking about a very small discrepancy. Put differently, the Vikings could ship out their 2nd and 7th for the final pick in the 1st and be considered as offering fair value.

Now, we’re just talking about a single trade value chart. The GM, a numbers nerd, is going to have his own way of valuing picks. And, of course, recent history (alongside common sense) suggests that teams will need to overpay — at least per the trade charts — to jump up into a draft slot for a quarterback.

Are All the Vikings Draft
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Even with all of those caveats, though, the main point remains: getting into the end of the 1st round is far, far less expensive than jumping up to the very top.

Obviously, the QB who is chosen there isn’t going to have the same scouting report as the one who goes 1st overall, but the Vikings will be diligent in their pursuit of value. Putting together a monstrous trade package to get to the very top may not be good value; getting to the end of the opening round, in contrast, could be a wonderful decision, especially if there’s a QB with the potential of Lamar Jackson.

So, keep an eye on this one, folks. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah loves to trade (he’s sitting on 19 total in his career), he loves getting good value, and he knows he needs QB help. If a defender goes to Minnesota at 11th, the Vikings could still be planning on snagging their opening-round QB.

The 2024 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25th.


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K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.

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