Purple Rumor Mill: QB Rumor That Won’t Die, Harrison Smith’s “Problem,” Drake Maye

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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 March 10th edition.

Vikings Rumors: QB Rumor That Won’t Die, Harrison Smith’s “Problem,” Drake Maye

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: Once again, Trey Lance to Vikings is a thing.

Vikings Rumors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network’s Rich Eisen appeared to be the rumor originator this time, mentioning the Vikings as a Lance landing spot this week. “A possible solve at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings is a native of the state and his name is Trey Lance. Trey Lance is a possible solve for the Vikings. Now, the Cowboys kept him on the roster long enough to get a bonus,” Eisen said this week.

Eisen added, “So they’re paying money to keep him. And as you know, they got him for a five. I’m just wondering if the Vikings flip them a three. A Friday night pick? Do they go ahead and do that?”

This thing never goes away. Lance hasn’t played a full football season anywhere since 2019. Five years ago. No team will hand him the baton as QB1 in 2024, nor could he oust Cooper Rush for a QB2 job in Dallas last year.

Let’s be done with Lance-to-Minnesota rumors unless they involve a QB3 job.

Rumor: The NFL’s safety saturation on the open market could affect Harrison Smith’s plans.

Harrison Smith Wins
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith arrived at another career crossroads this offseason, deciding between retirement, accepting a paycut in Minnesota, or signing with a Super Bowl-contending team.

He returned last offseason — when the same options were on the table — accepting a pay reduction and hoping the Vikings could contend for the Super Bowl. This offseason, however, quarterback Kirk Cousins may depart, and it is unclear if Smith has time for a rookie quarterback’s development. Young passers don’t typically lead teams to glory in Year No. 1, and Smith may not have more than a year left in the tank.

On the market overload with safeties, well, it’s real. Very real. These safeties are available to NFL teams as of March 10th:

  • Jamal Adams
  • Julian Blackmon
  • Kevin Byard
  • Jeremy Chinn
  • Kamren Curl
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Jordan Fuller
  • C.J. Gardner-Johnson
  • Micah Hyde
  • Eddie Jackson
  • Rayshawn Jenkins
  • Xavier McKinney
  • Jordan Poyer
  • Darnell Savage
  • Justin Simmons
  • Geno Stone
  • Tracy Walker
  • Jordan Whitehead

Safety-needy teams have about 20 at-least-decent options. So, yes, that complicates the demand for Smith.

Rumor: The Vikings “adore” Drake Maye, a hot quarterback prospect from North Carolina.

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This year’s quarterback draft class features a “Big 6,” including Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon), all men expected to leave the board by the end of Round 2. Williams, Maye, and Daniels could reasonably be the first three picks overall.

And according to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis, Minnesota “adores” Maye, the North Carolina product. Lewis tucked that factoid into an article last week, and as the plot thickens on Kirk Cousins’ possible departure, Vikings fans are hanging on every clue.

Mentioning new Vikings quarterback coach Josh McCown, who has ties to Maye as a high school mentor, Lewis wrote, “McCown’s presence is also useful because he can relate to veterans and has experience working with highly touted draftees (Sam Darnold, Jalen Hurts, Bryce Young, etc.). Another facet to consider: McCown coached North Carolina’s Drake Maye, whom the Vikings adore.”

File this in your memory bank for the draft, especially if Kirk Cousins departs Monday or Tuesday. Maye as the Vikings’ solution for the Cousins afterlife might have legs.


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.

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