Report Suggests Vikings Inquired about a Trade up the Draft Board

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
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As the NFL Draft inches closer, the Minnesota Vikings could act on a plan that began to germinate at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

KTSP’s Darren Wolfson reported that the Vikings talked with the New England Patriots regarding a trade for the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. The Patriots slid to 4-13 last season and landed the high pick, and the Vikings could trade up from No. 11 to grab a top-tier quarterback prospect in place of starter Kirk Cousins, who could hit free agency in March.

“Down in Mobile, there was a seed planted, with New England, by the Vikings,” Wolfson said during the Mackey and Judd podcast on February 22 . “That seed was planted in terms of ‘Hey, is there even any interest on your front to move off that No. 3 pick?'”

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m not suggesting talks have advanced; it was one of those ‘Hey, we’ll circle back to you,’ presumably … at the Combine in Indianapolis,” Wolfson said.

The NFL Scouting Combine gets underway on Monday, and Minnesota’s front office could talk with the Patriots this week amid all the other opportunities to explore roster changes. Minnesota will get a first-hand look at the top quarterbacks in the draft: USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye, and LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

Vikings Inquired about Trade up the Draft Board

Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings take a quarterback in the top 10 for the first time in franchise history, Minnesota can move on from a hefty contract with Cousins, who could command $39.3 million annually based on Spotrac’s number. Cousins made $35 million a one-year deal for the 2023 season.

What Cousins will do remains up in the air though the Macky and Judd crew talked about a possible scenario with the San Francisco 49ers. Cousins has been linked to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in the past since the two were together with the the-Washington Redskins in the early 2010s before Shahanan left for the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Cousins came to Minnesota as a free agent in 2018 with an $84 million deal, but he came up short of delivering a Super Bowl to the team, which had a top-tier defense and quality skill players at the time. He only mustered one playoff win, but he gave the Vikings stability at quarterback amid his durability until his season-ending Achilles injury in 2023.

Minnesota slogged through three different backup quarterbacks who couldn’t keep the season afloat in the end with a losing record and no postseason. The Vikings have a talented pass-catching trio for a top rookie to step in and thrive whether it’s Williams, Maye, or Daniels.

In addition, the Vikings could put money toward other positions of need with a quarterback on rookie contract amid $40.96 million available in salary cap space. However, the Vikings will have to give up more than the No. 11 pick to move up eight spots.

One Trade Scenario Costs the Vikings Much Less than the Other

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a pass for a touchdown and celebrates with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during second half of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

FS1’s Colin Cowherd floated the idea of the Vikings trading star wide receiver Justin Jefferson to the Patriots for the pick. That would leave the Vikings with a rookie quarterback undermanned as the team would need a new No. 1 or No. 2 wideout to take pressure off of wide receiver Jordan Addison.

If the Vikings won’t deal Jefferson, Minnesota would likely have to trade next year’s first round pick to the Patriots as part of the package for the No. 3 pick. It’s a risk that could favor either team, depending on how the 2024 season shakes out. The Patriots could get top-11 picks back-to-back years, or the Vikings could cash in with only losing a late first-round pick keeping Jefferson at the same time.