ESPN Hints a Vikings Trade Already in Place

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings allowed Kirk Cousins to exit stage left last month, not fancying a surrender to his contractual asking price during free agency. Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons and will quarterback the NFC foe for the next four years, along with $180 million.

ESPN Hints a Vikings Trade Already in Place

Two days after Cousins signed on the Falcons’ dotted line, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah finagled a high-profile pre-draft trade, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. Minnesota now owns two 1st-Round picks to move up the draftboard, more than any other team not named the Chicago Bears this year.

Vikings Trade
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And according to ESPN, Adofo-Mensah could already have a deal in place for draft night, reducing any anxiety about the purple team missing out on its quarterback of the future. Bill Barnwell wrote, “It’s entirely possible they could have a trade lined up with the Vikings or Raiders if New England scouting director Eliot Wolf’s quarterback of choice is off the board by the time the clock starts.”

If Minnesota can climb to the draft’s third spot, it can duly draft North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, two men at the top of most Vikings fans’ draftboards.

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports | Sep 16, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) passes the ball as Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Maverick Baranowski (6) pressures in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Barnwell continued, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings have some semblance of a trade up the board already in place. It’s the only thing that makes sense after they acquired the No. 23 pick from the Texans without then immediately packaging that selection in a second deal to move into the top six. That deal might be dependent upon a scenario in which a player is (or is not) available.”

It might be a little odd if the Vikings pulled off the Texans trade over a month before the draft and then didn’t use the extra 1st-Rounder on a quarterback trade. Otherwise, the Houston deal could’ve waited until draft night when Minnesota and Houston could better examine the lay of the land.

qb prospects
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“As an example, the Vikings might have a deal in place with the Chargers where they’ll move up to No. 5, as long as McCarthy is still available and Harrison is off the board. They might have tentative agreements with more than one team,” Barnwell opined.

In March, KFAN’s Paul Allen said right after Minnesota executed the trade with Houston, “There, generally speaking, is a handshake that you have with somebody at 3, 4, or 5 … you have a handshake with somebody somewhere.”

So, in alignment with Allen’s hypothesis, the Barnwell theory checks out.

Realistically, that handshake could be brokered with one of four teams: the Washington Commanders (Pick No. 2), the New England Patriots (Pick No. 3), the Arizona Cardinals (Pick No. 4), or the Los Angeles Chargers (Pick No. 5). There’s a path to Maye or McCarthy — perhaps even Jayden Daniels of LSU — if Minnesota can convince just one team to do business.

Need in 2024
Image Courtesy of Cody Lauer | The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri. The Vikings drafted six players during the event, from WR Jordan Addison to RB DeWayne McBride

Per oddsmakers, McCarthy is the favorite to land with the Vikings (+100).

The draft is 17 days away.

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).

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