Once-Promising QB Linked to Vikings in Trade Rumor Mill

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If the Minnesota Vikings cut ties with Kirk Cousins, they’ll need a new quarterback this offseason from the NFL Draft or free agency.

Once-Promising QB Linked to Vikings in Trade Rumor Mill

But some believe a trade could fetch the new QB1. For example, a deal for Justin Fields or Trey Lance has been whispered as the solution. Another name entered the Vikings rumor fray this week, one that won’t excite everyone — New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

QB Linked to
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Jones could be in his final days as a Patriot after a new leadership regime took over in January, while New England holds the third overall pick in April’s draft. According to The 33rd Team, Jones could be dealt to the highest bidder, and the Vikings made the cut as a trade-partner possibility.

The 33rd Team’s Derrik Klassen wrote about the Vikings fit: “The Minnesota Vikings could make some sense. Sitting outside the top 10 for this year’s draft, the Vikings could feel pressured to re-sign Kirk Cousins. Bringing in Jones as a stable backup and potential succession plan makes sense, unexciting as that may be for Vikings fans.”

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Last offseason, trade-Jones rumors sprouted, too, but no deal came to fruition during Bill Belichick’s swan song. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported last April, “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Belichick has shopped Jones to multiple teams during the 2023 offseason. The full list of potential destinations isn’t known. The teams mentioned as potential destinations were the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, and Commanders.”

Jones then quarterbacked the Patriots in 2023, leading New England to a 2-9 record on his watch, with a 10-touchdown pass and 12-interception split. He was benched down the stretch for Bailey Zappe.

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The 25-year-old dimed 22 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions as a rookie in 2021, earned a Pro Bowl nod, and finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. He was trending upward. Then, 2022 arrived, Jones fired up a meager 14 touchdown passes, often appeared disgruntled on the Patriots sidelines — probably why Belichick wasn’t enamored with him — and finished 27th in quarterback DVOA. It was an honest-to-goodness sophomore slump. And 2023 somehow got worse during Jones’ pivotal third campaign.

So, the working theory is that Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell could “fix” Jones — or something like that. Truth be told, if Minnesota is ready to move on from Cousins, it should shoot for the stars. Embracing a half-measured solution in Jones or hoping he turns into a star while watching behind Cousins doesn’t seem ideal.

The New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in a second half huddle. © Kris Craig/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK.

If the Vikings indeed let Cousins hit free agency, the club is expected to explore a rookie quarterback during the draft. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Rounds 1 and 2.

Klassen also linked Jones to the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.