Rumors Were Right: Vikings Evidently Explored Trade for Rival QB

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Sam Darnold ultimately became the choice, but it could’ve easily been a familiar rival, says ESPN.

Rumors Were Right: Vikings Evidently Explored Trade for Rival QB

The Minnesota Vikings are expected to draft a rookie quarterback in 24 days, yet Pittsburgh Steelers passer Justin Fields was an option in 2024. Fields led the Chicago Bears for three seasons, and the Vikings know him well. Chicago is expected to draft USC’s Caleb Williams at the end of the month.

if the Vikings Trade
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According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, the Vikings did diligence in exploring the Fields trade sweepstakes, which resulted in Fields to Pittsburgh for a conditional 6th-Round draft pick. “Chicago, intending to move the three-year starter as it prepared to select a quarterback with the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, was willing to give Fields some say in his next destination. The Steelers were one of four teams on Fields’ radar prior to the start of free agency, along with the Vikings, Raiders and Falcons, a source familiar with Fields’ thinking said,” Pryor wrote late last week.

Had a Vikings-Bears trade come to fruition, Fields probably would’ve been nominated for a depth assignment or a patchover role, not unlike the aforementioned Darnold. Two years ago, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told Pro Football Talk, “I really do believe having attempted to play quarterback in this league myself and not ultimately achieving that goal because of the fact I wasn’t accurate enough as a quarterback. I think the number one for me now that I look at veteran quarterbacks, rookie quarterbacks, I evaluate them throughout any process is they need to be naturally accurate.”

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Fields is one of the NFL’s least accurate starting quarterbacks, so the idea of Minnesota tossing a QB1 emblem on his chest was always unlikely. Partnering Fields with a soon-to-be rookie quarterback from the draft, however, could’ve made sense.

Too, Minnesota may have experienced a problem hopping over the NFC North rival hurdle. The Bears were content moving on from Fields in favor of Williams, but they may not have wanted to see Fields twice annually, with the risk of him blossoming in their backyard. NFC North teams rarely do business via trade, even if Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is more open to the idea than most.

Mystery Shrouds Vikings
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In early March, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote, “The major quarterback domino that many are waiting to fall is Chicago’s Justin Fields decision. Chicago has not played its hand, and several league sources believe Fields — who has not requested a trade — could probably garner a Day 2 pick in a potential deal. There’s no firm deadline on a trade, though the start of free agency is sort of a soft one. Chicago will need multiple teams in the fray to drive a market, and after asking around, I expect Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Minnesota to be on the radar.”

Ergo, ESPN was all over the Fields-as-a-Viking angle, and it apparently wasn’t too far-fetched, even if the young quarterback wasn’t an end-all QB1 fix as some NFL fans suggested for the Vikings.

Under a different general manager, Rick Spielman, Minnesota reportedly explored trading for Fields during the 2021 NFL Draft, as well.

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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