Don’t Undersell the Vikings’ Price to Trade up for QB

Folks Are Now Mad
Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon chats with Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during practice in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Re-sign Kirk Cousins for a year or two? Let Cousins walk and draft the next guy at quarterback? How about both? Maybe neither?

Don’t Undersell the Vikings’ Price to Trade up for QB

Those are the options corkscrewing through the Minnesota Vikings fanbase at the moment, as the franchise faces a momentous offseason where a new quarterback could arrive, and all NFC North teams appear to be on the rise.

Undersell the Vikings
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

And one quarterback theory — especially if Cousins joins a different team — involves trading up the draftboard for a blue-chip prospect like Drake Maye (North Carolina) or Jayden Daniels (LSU). During last year’s draft, the Vikings were allegedly interested in “trading the farm” for Bryce Young or Anthony Richardson if a reasonable agreement could be finagled. To no avail.

The current problem with the theory, though, is that some trade projections are far too skimpy. They’re erroneously hoodwinking the Vikings’ fanbase into believing a trade-up to the No. 3 spot or so is affordable.

It won’t be.

SI.com’s Joe Nelson wrote this week, “Using a modern version of Jimmy Johnson’s trade chart, the No. 5 pick is worth 1,700 points. To get that pick, the Vikings would need to send the Chargers the No. 11 pick (1,250 points) and more. What’s more? Maybe it’s the 42nd pick in this year’s draft, which is worth 480 points, and then a mid-round pick this year or next year [..] Going from 11 to 4 is only slightly more expensive as the No. 4 pick is worth 1,800 points. But going all the way up to No. 3 is higher-priced with a pick value of 2,200.”

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

A 1st-Rounder, 2nd-Rounder, and “then maybe something else” won’t propel Minnesota where it must be to snag Maye or Daniels. Realistically, the trade price will be much more steep. In 2021, the San Francisco 49ers bartered with the Miami Dolphins for the draft pick that landed Trey Lance — an ill-fated swap for the 49ers (that really didn’t matter because they found Brock Purdy for nothing the following year) and an incredible deal for Miami.

That trade? Wowzers — it truly cost the farm. Here’s how that deal shook out:

The 49ers Received:
3rd Overall Pick (2021 Draft)

The Dolphins Received:
2021 1st-Rounder (No. 12 pick)
2022 1st-Rounder
2023 1st-Rounder
2022 3rd-Rounder

Vikings Are Basically Done
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

That draft was similar to this year’s edition, perceived as stuffed to the gills with quarterback talent. That synopsis wasn’t entirely accurate in retrospect, but the mentality entering the 2024 NFL Draft is comparable.

The moral of the story? Star-studded quarterback prospects drive the price of trades through the roof. One might recall 2022 when Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded the 12th overall pick to the Detroit Lions. He was criticized for “not getting enough,” but that was because the quarterback class stunk in 2022. Terribly stunk. Kenny Pickett was the only 1st-Rounder, and the only quarterback who seems promising two years into the experiment(s) is Brock Purdy — or Mr. Irrelevant.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s fine and dandy for Vikings fans to daydream about a splashy trade on draft night. But it won’t be a 1st-Rounder, 2nd-Rounder, and some deal sweetener. If the objective is to secure Maye or Daniels, the 49ers-Dolphins swap from 2021 should be the reference point.


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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