Purple Rumor Mill: Michael Penix Jr. as an Option, Texans Trade Tidbit, Three 1st-Rounders to LAC

Vikings Rookie QB
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the April 7th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Michael Penix Jr. as an Option, Texans Trade Tidbit, Three 1st-Rounders to LAC

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: The Vikings could have a fallback plan involving Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback.

purple rumor mill
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a terrific Pro Day last week, Penix Jr. has returned to the NFL’s 1st-Round draft radar — so much so that the rookie passer could fly off the board in the first half of Round 1.

Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweeted Monday, “Things are heating up for Washington QB Michael Penix Jr: Sources say he had dinner with the Giants in Seattle after his Pro Day, followed by a private workout with the Vikings in Seattle. Penix will have top 30s with the Broncos, Falcons, Raiders and Commanders, per multiple sources.”

After that, Schultz tweeted Thursday, exactly three weeks away from the draft, “The Vikings flew out their whole staff for a private workout with Michael Penix Jr. in Seattle, including HC Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, sources say. I’m told Penix has a top 30 with the Raiders today, who currently hold the 13th pick in the draft.”

Vikings fans should brace for a world in which Penix is a contingency plan for the purple team on April 25th if it strikes out a top-four quarterback prospect.

Rumor: The Texans actually called to initiate the trade with the Vikings — not the other way around.

Vikings Trade
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Twenty-three days ago, the Vikings pulled off an out-of-nowhere trade, grabbing an additional 1st-Round pick from the Texans while offloading two 2nd-Rounders in the deal, plus a late-round pick swap. Vikings loyalists rejoiced at the move, an indicator that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would trade again before the end of Round 1 inside the upcoming draft. Most fans believe that will still happen.

But in the wake of the Stefon Diggs trade to Houston, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said, “The Houston Texans went to the Minnesota Vikings and initiated a trade in which they got out of the 1st Round, got an extra 2nd-Round pick, and they got an extra 2nd-Round pick in 2025. Well, lo and behold, everyone assumed that was the Vikings initiating it so they could go up and get a quarterback.”

No matter who kickstarted the agreement, Minnesota still owns more 1st-Round capital in this year’s draft than any team to move up the board for Drake Maye of North Carolina or J.J. McCarthy, for example.

“But the truth of the matter is that it was the Texans who initiated that to get out of the 1st Round and get added draft capital in the 2nd Round,” Schefter concluded.

So, let the record show that the brainchild of the agreement was born at the Texans’ front office — if Schefter’s reporting is accurate.

Rumor: Forget New England: Minnesota may have to donate three 1st-Rounders to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5 for a trade up the board.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Field Yates predicted Minnesota doing business with the Los Angeles Chargers and the No. 5 pick but sending three 1st-Rounders for the prize, J.J. McCarthy.

Until Wednesday, three 1st-Round picks were reserved for transacting with the New England Patriots, for example, a club holding the third overall pick. Spending that much capital is new — three 1st-Rounders for the fifth overall pick is quite outrageous.

Yates explained, “Three quarterbacks are already off the board, and Minnesota has a big hole there after Kirk Cousins signed elsewhere in March. So I have the Vikings sending Nos. 11 and 23 this year and an additional 2025 first-rounder to the Chargers to move up to No. 5 overall for the class’ QB4. Los Angeles, meanwhile, picks up valuable assets to build its roster back up.”

Yates then connected McCarthy to Minnesota with the fifth pick: “Minnesota would be betting on McCarthy’s combination of very good ball placement and mobility helping him become its long-term answer, with Sam Darnold in tow for 2024 if McCarthy needs time to get his feet wet. The supporting cast in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and an elite offensive tackle duo give him a shot for serious early success. McCarthy completed 72.3% of his passes and threw only four interceptions last season.”

Apparently this is a thing: the trade price with the Cardinals or Chargers at No. 4 or 5 could also be unholy. Price gouging at its finest.

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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.