One Idea from Vikings’ Last Offseason Would’ve Actually Worked

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What could have been.

In back-to-back offseasons (2022, 2023), Minnesota Vikings fans and some NFL media members formulated an idea to get quarterback Trey Lance onto the purple team’s roster.

One Idea from Vikings’ Last Offseason Would’ve Actually Worked

The now-forgotten passer, who lives on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart as QB3, was the odd man out when Brock Purdy emerged as a semi-elite starter. So, his original team, the San Francisco 49ers, shipped him to Dallas for a 4th-Round draft pick.

One Idea from
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Late last summer, pretty much everyone featured the Vikings as a possible landing spot for Lance. ESPN has even joined the party. Bill Barnwell examined the then embryonic Lance trade sweepstakes in August, and the Vikings lived at the top of the list. He listed seven teams that should explore a trade and wrote about the Vikings, “They have a blank slate staring them in the face at quarterback. Kirk Cousins is 35 and a free agent after this season. Minnesota used a fifth-round pick on Jaren Hall in April’s draft, but it would be a major surprise if it moved forward with Hall as the starter in 2024.”

Two months after Barnwell’s theory hit the digital stratosphere, Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins was injured for the season with a torn Achilles, and that was that for Minnesota’s once-promising 2023 campaign. The Vikings showcased a true-blue quarterback carousel after a trade for Joshua Dobbs, later pivoting to Hall, mentioned by Barnwell, and Nick Mullens in the season’s final few games.

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Of course, it’s revisionist history and perhaps Lance would’ve played terribly for the Vikings. But in the end, Cousins’ injury paved the way for a perfect audition where Lance could’ve gained much-needed playing time.

In Dallas this season, Lance didn’t take a single snap. It was a shutout.

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The bad part for Lance is career trajectory. He’s started four NFL games since entering the league in 2021. In fact, he hasn’t played a full football season since 2019 at North Dakota State — five years ago. Most believe he merely needs starts and playing time to determine if his lofty draft stock from three years ago was legitimate.

Regardless of the Vikings, it was borderline criminal that during “the season of the backup quarterback” — oodles of QB1s were injured in 2023 — Lance didn’t throw a single pass. Whether with the Bengals, Jets, Chargers, Giants, Colts, Browns, or Vikings, it would’ve been fun and enlightening to see Lance receiving meaningful NFL action. Entering the 2024 offseason, Minnesota has more quarterback questions than ever, which could’ve potentially been answered if Lance was the real deal in purple.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

For now, Lance is back to the same song and dance as last offseason. Folks will wonder if he’ll ever materialize into anything, remain a career-long reservist quarterback, or somewhere in between. The Vikings shouldn’t be reprimanded for avoiding the Lance Sweepstakes, but in hindsight, they had the dream scenario to see if the native Minnesotan had the gumption to succeed.


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.

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