The Swearing Clarifies the Best Course of Action: The Vikings Need to Be Calling the Commanders about a Trade
Things aren’t going particularly well in the nation’s capital, and I’m not talking about politics. The Vikings need to do their due diligence by picking up the phone.
Following their Week 7 loss, starting defensive tackle Jonathan Allen articulated his anger in no uncertain terms. Take a look at the quote that has been relayed by Ben Standig of The Athletic. Allen is “f—ing tired of this s—. I’m f—ing tired of this bulls—. It’s been seven f—ing years of the same [s–]. I’m tired of this s—.” Clearly, there is some frustration within the Commanders locker room.
The Vikings Need to Be Calling the Commanders.
Minnesota is desperate for high-end talent in the defense’s front seven. Washington possesses plenty of high-end talent in the front seven. The fit between the pair of teams is easy to see, especially when players are so outspoken about their frustrations.
By this point, Chase Young has become a frequent flyer in the trade chatter. A recent example involves a piece on The 33rd Team from Jeff Diamond (who writes for Vikings Territory).
Diamond sees a fit between Young and the Houston Texans: “The Commanders will not have the cap room to keep both players, and [Montez] Sweat has been more productive (4.5 sacks, nine QB hits, 20 tackles vs. three sacks, seven QB hits, 12 tackles for Young). Sweat also has been more durable than Young, who missed 22 games in 2021 and 2022 due to an ACL tear.”
He goes on: “Young has proven to be back as a productive player with trade value. The Commanders should get a draft pick now for a player who was the second overall pick in 2020 (and the Defensive Rookie of the Year) rather than receiving nothing if Young leaves in free agency.”
The Texans are in the midst of a rebuild, so onboarding the 24-year-old Young certainly has its appeal. Picking up an edge rusher of his abilities isn’t easy, and that’s why the Vikings need to make a phone call. So far, Chase Young is up to 5 sacks, 6 TFLs, and 9 QB hits in 2023. The issue isn’t talent, folks. Instead, it’s been his ability to stay healthy. A trade with risk but also one with considerable upside.
In 2023, there’s no such thing as a team that succeeds without a formidable pass rush. Yes, that exists on a spectrum; not every Super Bowl winner leads the NFL in sacks or QB pressures. But, to be sure, there’s considerable merit in putting together a defense capable of forcing the QB into rushed decisions. Hitting the QB before he can get rid of the football is a surefire way of ensuring a team’s elite offensive weapons can’t have a field day.
Patrick Mahomes tends to hog the headlines, but Kansas City was second in the NFL last year with 55 sacks. The Super Bowl winner the year prior was the Los Angeles Rams, a team that finished the season third in the NFL with 50 sacks. Oh, and they added Von Miller at the trade deadline to amp up the rush just a bit more.
Legitimate Super Bowl contenders know how to pressure the QB. The Vikings aren’t there yet but want to become a contender. Amping up the pass rush is thus a necessity, so don’t be at all surprised if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is keenly interested in adding a pass rusher with youth and upside.
Montez Sweat is the another name to monitor in Washington. Only 27, Sweat is someone who could give the Vikings’ pass rush a much-needed boost. He has 5.5 sacks, 8 TFLs, and 10 QB hits in 2023.
Young and Sweat could be major building blocks for 2024 and beyond. That’s the real appeal of bringing in those two.
And what about Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne? The talented twosome along the iDL for Washington would certainly be intriguing fits in Minnesota. Both are former 1st-round selections. Allen is likely the one Washington would be most willing to part with since he’s 28. Moreover, Payne (26) just signed with the Commanders, agreeing to a 4-year, $90 million deal during the offseason.
The Commanders, of course, aren’t the only show in town. Other teams will be interested in trading away some of their talent, so the Vikings’ GM will have options if he’s looking to bolster the DL and/or the OLB positions.
Nevertheless, there’s reason to perk up when a star defender is so clear-cut with his frustrations in the media. Something is majorly wrong in Washington and there’s a ton of top-tier talent up front on defense. Meanwhile, Minnesota needs to overhaul their front seven. Prying away Young, Sweat, or Allen may be part of that needed overhaul.
The Vikings are sitting on a touch above $8 million in cap space. Next season, the Vikings are sitting on a bit below $52 million (a number that’s constantly changing). Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is working with eight selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. Shipping out a 1st would be misguided, but a 2nd may be worth it for someone with Young’s and/or Sweat’s potential.
The trade deadline arrives on Halloween. Don’t discount the possibility of Minnesota being both a buyer and seller at the trade deadline.
K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.