A Pair of Vikings Trade Trends Point Toward a Possible Path Ahead at QB

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, Vikings fans understand the reality: the GM likes to trade.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah jumped into the captain’s chair in late January of 2022. Since then, Adofo-Mensah has moved Minnesota into a whopping nineteen trades. Something that’s a bit less obvious, though, is how those trades interact with specific positions. It’s one thing to say that the GM pulled off a swap but it’s quite another to understand who he targets and why he does so.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & The Trade Trends

The Vikings currently have a QB quatrain within their orbit:

  • Kirk Cousins
  • Nick Mullens
  • Jaren Hall
  • Joshua Dobbs

Notably, three of those quarterbacks arrived because of a trade. Mullens and Dobbs are the obvious ones. The former got added to be the new QB2 leading into the 2022 season. The latter was added at the most recent trade deadline to reinforce a position that was demonstrating considerable wear and tear.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) warms up before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A bit less obvious, however, is how Mr. Hall got added.

He was chosen in the 5th round of the 2023 NFL Draft. So, the clearest answer is that the rookie was a Minnesota draft pick. And while that’s true, it’s worth noting that the pick that got sunk into the BYU passer — 164th overall — got added into Kwesi’s coffer due to an earlier swap with the 49ers. Minnesota turned their 87th pick into the 102nd pick (Mekhi Blackmon), 164th pick (Jaren Hall), and 222nd pick (DeWayne McBride).

A bit of a circuitous manner, perhaps, but Hall was also the byproduct of a trade from the GM. What happens when we place the willingness to participate in a QB trade alongside another trade tendency?

In several instances, Adofo-Mensah has demonstrated an affinity for high-upside players on a rookie deal — Jalen Reagor, Ross Blacklock, T.J. Hockenson, Cam Akers. Getting all of these players involved the GM shipping out a draft pick(s) to give a young guy the chance at beginning the second chapter of his career in Minnesota.

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) passes against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Is there any sense at all that this track record helps to illuminate the path forward at quarterback? Are there QBs who are still operating on their rookie deals who could be acquired on the trade market?

The NFL seems to boast several passers who fit the criteria. One thinks of Justin Fields as arguably the crown jewel within the available quarterbacks (or at least the ones who are rumored to be available).

The 24-year-old has had a rocky start to his career, but his team bears a lot of the blame for that reality (pun fully intended). He has excellent size (6’3″, 228) and speed (4.45 forty), which has translated to elite rushing production. His career 60.3 completion percentage leaves a lot to be desired, so the fit within a Vikings offense where accuracy is a must would need to be carefully considered. Does Fields suddenly become more accurate when given the chance to operate from within a competent offense?

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) scrambles against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Less compelling options would be Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett, and maybe even Tua Tagovailoa. In each instance, the young passer is working with a bit uncertainty in his current spot and is still on his rookie deals. Adofo-Mensah can thus debate whether the cost of acquisition alongside the potential upside combine to make a trade worthwhile.

February is quickly slipping away. Very soon, March will arrive and the NFL will start getting firm answers on many of the questions and possibilities we’ve been exploring in recent weeks. The Vikings should still be considered the frontrunner to employ Kirk Cousins just as they should be considered fairly likely to make a move for a quarterback in the draft.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

What has been repeatedly proven, though, is that the NFL is an unpredictable place. Toss that simple fact alongside Adofo-Mensah’s repeated effort to trade for QBs as well as young, highly-drafted players on their rookie deals. Is there a way for all of those factors to coalesce into a scenario where the Vikings make a bold move to trade for a young passer?

We’ll soon find out.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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.