Former MVP QB Lamar Jackson Officially Requests a Trade. Should the Vikings Make a Move?

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Aug 27, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) stands on the sidelines durning the first quarter against the Washington Commanders at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It has felt like this was only a matter of time for awhile now, but Baltimore Ravens star and former MVP QB Lamar Jackson has officially announced he had requested a trade from Baltimore via social media on Monday morning. In his post, Jackson said the request has been official with the Ravens organization since March 2nd.

Jackson dedicated the majority of his post thanking his fans and saying that his dream is to “help a team win the Super Bowl”. However, his decision to request a trade comes with his belief that the Ravens have not valued him in their organization leading to Jackson needing to “make a business decision”, as the QB put it.

Former MVP QB Lamar Jackson
Aug 11, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

With this trade request now out in the open, though, should it impact the Minnesota Vikings decision-making? Obviously, Jackson is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the NFL right now. However, there are two main issues that often come up when discussing the 2018 first-round pick: health and his price tag.

Jackson has missed five games in each of the past two regular seasons, and this past season, his absence extended into Baltimore’s Wild Card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals during the playoffs. Seeing as he is most effective when able to use his legs to create plays, his durability as a franchise QB likely will remain a concern for the remainder of his career.

Then, pairing this recent stretch of poor health with the fact that Jackson seems intent on grabbing a top contract with much of it, if not all, fully guaranteed makes acquiring him a double-edged sword for many teams. Not to mention, now that he has been placed on the non-exclusive franchise tag, teams would have to give up a pair of first-round picks in order to acquire him.

Aug 11, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick (10) and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) talk after the preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

For the Vikings, though, a move like this simply doesn’t seem to match up with how their offseason timeline has gone to this point. Of course, it is fun to think about what Minnesota’s offense could look like with a dynamic athlete at QB after years of pocket-passers.

However, the path for Minnesota at this point in time appears focused on drafting and developing a QB of their own in the next couple years. Kirk Cousins’ new contract conversion pushed $28 million of dead cap into the future, meaning that will be on the Vikings books next offseason if he leaves the team.

Taking Cousins’ dead money on while also paying Jackson upwards of $45-50 million and getting rid of draft capital feels irresponsible for a team that is a couple pieces away from being Super Bowl contenders.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 28, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It also isn’t guaranteed that the veteran would agree to a trade to Baltimore. Remember, Cousins has a no-trade clause this offseason that allows him to veto any move that involves him going to another team.

Put simply, Baltimore doesn’t look like a very intriguing landing spot right now, regardless. Their offensive line may be a strong group in pass protection, but the scheme is very much a ground-and-pound, run-first approach.

This is largely due to the fact that the Ravens have struggled to find major contributions from a wide receiver in recent years. The only wide receiver to record a 1000-yard season for Baltimore in the last six seasons is Marquise Brown. He did so in 2021, and the Ravens promptly traded him to the Arizona Cardinals that same offseason.

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Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins vs. Eagles. Lincoln Financial Field. © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

For Baltimore, too, other suitors likely make more sense rather than Minnesota. Take, for example, the Indianapolis Colts. They currently hold the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and they could pair that selection and their 2024 pick to acquire Jackson. Then, Baltimore can take a chance on one of the top QBs in this spring’s draft class rather than paying another veteran.

Ultimately, the idea of the Vikings trading for Jackson is a fun one, but it isn’t much more than that right now: an idea. Logistically, there are many hoops to jump through for Minnesota to become a realistic team to acquire Jackson. It isn’t impossible, but it seems unwise to count on the possibility becoming a reality right now.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.