ESPN Proposes Groundbreaking Vikings Trade in Latest Mock

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Just as the dust settles on Kirk Cousins’ departure because the Minnesota Vikings could not match his price demands, another outfit has proposed a trade with an even more expensive QB1.

ESPN Proposes Groundbreaking Vikings Trade in Latest Mock

That’s right. ESPN published a mock draft this week, courtesy of former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, and his QB1 solution involved a Vikings draft-night trade for Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals.

Vikings Trade
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the Vikings still have to pay Justin Jefferson this offseason, and his soon-to-be gargantuan contract is one reason why Cousins couldn’t remain in Minnesota — it’s not easy to pay a QB1 and WR1 upper-echelon salaries simultaneously. The Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, and Tyreek Hill can tell you all about it. So can the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams.

Nevertheless, it was Murray to Minnesota per Tannenbaum, and he explained, “I drafted J.J. McCarthy at No. 4 to take over under center for Arizona, so Murray becomes a trade candidate and Minnesota is still searching for QB answers after missing out on the top four passers in the class. I don’t love the scheme fit for Oregon’s Bo Nix in Minnesota, and it’s too early for Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.”

The National Folks Picking the Cardinals over Vikings
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

The trade price for Murray per Tannenbaum? The 11th overall pick, while Minnesota welcomed Kyler Murray and a 3rd-Rounder.

“So here’s my proposition to clear some cap space for the Cards, officially start the McCarthy era in Arizona and fix the Vikings’ QB issue. In my mind, the No. 11 pick for Murray straight up is too rich, and No. 23 — Minnesota’s other first-rounder — on its own is not enough. So I’m attaching that third-rounder to the No. 11 pick to level this out,” Tannenbaum continued.

In January, a reporter asked Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon, “Is there any doubt in your mind who your quarterback is going to be next season?” Gannon replied, “No, there is not. There is no doubt. Number 1 is our franchise quarterback.”

Former OU quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray pose for a photo during halftime of Saturday’s spring game in Norman. © NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

Most Murray trade theories died then and there — only to find resurrection from Tannenbaum 2.5 months later.

Tannenbaum concluded about Murray in purple, “From the Vikings’ standpoint, everything I said earlier about Murray’s durability still matters, but he’s cheaper and younger than Kirk Cousins would have been to re-sign and gives them a chance to compete this season rather than rebuild.”

The Vikings later selected defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton of Illinois in Tannenbaum’s mock draft with pick No. 23.

Overall, Murray as the Vikings’ QB1 after Cousins could assuredly work and be quite fun, but Minnesota is on the brink of an era with a quarterback on a rookie deal to offset Jefferson’s large extension. It’s severely unlikely for the Vikings to swing both — paying Murray and Jefferson — while employing T.J. Hockenson as the league’s richest tight end and keeping Christian Darrisaw around for the long haul.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

If Tannenbaum’s theory falls flat — it probably will — the Vikings are expected to trade up on draft night for a rookie quarterback like Drake Maye (North Carolina) or J.J. McCarthy (Michigan).

The NFL draft is 30 days away. The Murray trade would also require the Cardinals to eat roughly $39.35 million in dead cap funds.

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