Vikings Placed on Shortlist for Flashy Trade
The burning question in Minnesota is the future of the quarterback position. Do the Vikings re-sign Kirk Cousins for at least a seventh season with the franchise, or do they move on from him and start the next era of Vikings football, perhaps with an exciting rookie prospect in April’s draft? Of course, hiring a so-called bridge quarterback and targeting the position in the future is possible, although it doesn’t seem likely.
Vikings Placed on Shortlist for Flashy Trade
Having Cousins return offers more risk than in recent years. He has always been one of the league’s most durable and reliable players. His production consistently came close to 4,000 yards and 30 passing touchdowns. He exceeded those milestones in some years; in others, he came just short.
But things have changed. As he is another year older (his 36th birthday will be in August), he is close to that age at which passers start to experience a decline. The arm is suddenly not as strong as it once was, and even the subpar mobility skills slowly diminish. Adding a torn Achilles to the mix, he might no longer be the safe bet at the QB spot. Planning for the time after Cousins must be the priority for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, whether Minnesota’s longtime passer returns or not.
It is paramount to find his successor, and the draft is the way to go, as decent QBs never hit free agency. The Vikings hold the 11th overall pick, a spot in which some signal-callers will be available, but the best prospects will be gone. While the draft is always a lottery, landing one of those top guys is generally the goal. And a trade could achieve that.
According to Dan Graziano, an ESPN insider, the New England Patriots could be looking to trade their third overall selection.
Sure, there has been a lot of talk about what will happen with the first and second picks of the 2024 draft, what the Bears and Commanders will do and where all the quarterbacks will end up. But I’m hearing a bit of buzz about the third pick, which belongs to the New England Patriots. The Patriots also need a quarterback, but there are people around the league who believe they are open to trading the No. 3 selection, moving back in the draft and addressing the quarterback position in free agency.
It could make sense for the Patriots to generate more draft capital by trading down with a new regime in charge. Bill Belichick is gone, and they are kickstarting a new era with the third overall pick. After four seasons without Tom Brady — one with Cam Newton and three with Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe — they might want to fix the spot rather than throw darts in the draft.
Signing a guy like Cousins or targeting a different veteran is enticing after years of QB carousel and inadequate play. In the meantime, they could fill their roster with other talented players and leave the selection of a new franchise quarterback as the missing piece for future years.
If that third pick becomes available, teams will line up in a bidding war for it to secure the rights of their QB3. Graziano thinks the Vikings will be part of those sweepstakes.
If the Pats do trade that pick — which could be Daniels or Maye — the two teams I’d keep an eye on are the Falcons (moving from the No. 8 spot) and the Vikings (moving from the No. 11 spot, assuming they don’t bring back Cousins). Minnesota knows it eventually has to address the quarterback position long term, and the notion of bringing in Daniels to pair with their star LSU alum wideout Justin Jefferson has appeal to some in the organization.
That trade would be costly for Minnesota. In 2021, the 49ers traded up for Trey Lance from 12th overall to the same 3rd overall position. It cost them three first-rounders. Colin Cowherd proposed a deal that would send Justin Jefferson, their 11th overall pick, and their top selection in 2025 to New England.
More likely, it looks like the deal the Texans made last year with the Cardinals to move up from 12 to 3. They moved picks 12 and 33 and a first- and second-rounder in 2024 for picks 3 and 105. It will undoubtedly take at least two first-rounders and a second-rounder.
The Vikings would get the right to select Jayden Daniels, who is considered QB3 in the class behind Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, but over J.J. McCarthy.
The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez wrote about Daniels in January: “Overall, Daniels is a dual-threat quarterback who can use his legs both to run and to set up passing the ball while working in elements of RPO and quick game and taking deep shots. Daniels has room to improve as a passer working the middle of the field, but there is optimism that he can continue to develop as a passer like he did from the 2022 season to 2023.”
Daniels is a phenomenal athlete who must be accounted for as a runner on every play. In addition to that, he has shown massive growth as a passer. His tape from 2023 is filled with high-level throws in tight windows and impressive angles from inside and outside of the pocket. But there are some misses on film, too. His inconsistencies are why he isn’t viewed as the top QB in the draft.
If Kevin O’Connell thinks he can help him improve as a thrower, he surely is an intriguing prospect, and the Vikings could be willing to mortgage some additional picks to get him into the building.
Rumors about the Vikings potentially trading up in April’s draft surface weekly will be many more until the event rolls around on April 25.
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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