Mel Kiper Identifies Common Sense Trade Partner for Vikings

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In 19 days, Minnesota Vikings fans will experience the offseason’s almighty climax, on tap to learn the team’s Round 1 draft selection — that will probably involve a quarterback.

Mel Kiper Identifies Common Sense Trade Partner for Vikings

That’s the working theory, anyway, as Minnesota has positioned itself to conduct a trade up the draftboard for one of the Top 4 quarterback prospects: Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), or J.J. McCarthy (Michigan). Williams is likely out of reach — he’ll head to the Chicago Bears at No. 1 — but Daniels, Maye, and McCarthy could be gettable.

Trade Partner
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Minnesota should do trade business with the Los Angeles Chargers and draft McCarthy. That’s his theory, with the draft less than three weeks away.

“For Jim Harbaugh, JJ McCarthy is his guy and JJ McCarthy can benefit the Chargers by the fact that somebody like Minnesota will move up, keeps him in Big Ten country. Michigan to the Minnesota Vikings. That allows Jim Harbaugh and the Chargers to get a couple picks. They need a tackle and a receiver. Now, it does take them out of a situation to get an elite wideout, but they do get a receiver at some point because of the depth at that spot,” Kiper said this week.

Vikings mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

McCarthy is the Vegas favorite land in Minnesota, currently outfitted with a +100 moneyline to join the Vikings. So, Kiper’s idea checks out.

He added, “But certainly for JJ, I do think it’s a little high at that spot in terms of the elite players in this Draft. I think he’s more of a mid-first. So, if you grade him there, like I do, you don’t take him up in that rarefied air of the top five or six of the first round.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Kiper didn’t clearly enumerate the price for Minnesota to move and deal with Los Angeles. But Minnesota’s two 1st-Rounders, the Nos. 11 and 23 picks, will be required, with perhaps a bit more to sweeten the pot, like a mid-rounder from this year or next.

Conversely, if the purple team wants Drake Maye of North Carolina — most fans believe the team’s rookie quarterback choice is either Maye or McCarthy — it might have to trade all the way up to the New England Patriots’ spot at No. 3. Per the rumor mill, the cost of such a swap might mandate the Vikings send three 1st-Rounders and more for Maye.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

In that vein, McCarthy almost feels like the compromise selection — potentially enabling Minnesota to keep next year’s 1st-Rounder, which could be a high pick if Sam Darnold and McCarthy are showcased in 2024.

Last year, Kiper’s final mock draft sent Joey Porter Jr. to Minnesota. The Vikings picked Jordan Addison.

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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