The “Tank for Trevor” bandwagon is running red hot in Minnesota.
NFL fans across the league have been thirsting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Heismann trophy front-runner and a consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft. The 6-foot-6 prospect won a national championship with the Tigers in his freshman year and led them to an unbeaten season into the title game against LSU last season.
ESPN gathered reactions around the league and Vikings fans may have made the most noise with Vikings fans after watching the worst performance of Kirk Cousins’ career took to Twitter to unleash the call to enter full-tank mode and some great edits came from it.
— Skol Vikes (@SkolBros) September 20, 2020
— Mr. Mojo Risin (@BlayneMojo) September 20, 2020
laughing in trevor lawrence pic.twitter.com/wHLWyDCv76
— Tanishka ¹⁹ (@tanishkamascara) September 21, 2020
The calls for the Vikings to tank for Lawrence were murmurs on Monday morning, but by midday, they were widely touted that the 2020 season is a wash after the announcement of Anthony Barr’s season-ending injury. The Vikings, which boasted one of the NFL’s most vaunted defenses over the past few years, have just three members from their starting 11 in 2019.
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Lawrence On Every Team’s Radars
Lawrence has been in the national spotlight since he was a high schooler and made a splash in his first year at Clemson, becoming the first true freshman quarterback to lead a team to ta national title since 1985.
ESPN’s Todd McShay called Lawrence a “once-in-a-decade” talent. Here’s what he wrote to justify Lawrence going No. 1 in the 2021 draft:
OK, let’s begin with a no-brainer. Lawrence is a once-in-a-decade type of quarterback prospect who currently has our highest Scouts Inc. grade on a QB since Andrew Luck in 2012… With a big arm, great mobility for his 6-foot-6 frame, excellent poise under pressure and off-the-charts intangibles, it wouldn’t be long before he was among the game’s best.
Lawrence has completed 527 out of 804 career passes for 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1,610 snaps in 30 career games (26 starts). His college record in 29-1 — his lone loss coming against LSU after taking Clemson back to the national championship game his sophomore year.
Vikings Committed to Cousins, Could Still Draft Lawrence
The Vikings are bound to Cousins for the next two years after he signed a two-year $66 million contract extension with all $66 million guaranteed this offseason — a steep price tag to part ways with if the Vikings were to draft and pronounce Lawrence their starter next season.
Guy Boston Sports’ Kyle Doyle broke down each of the NFL’s 11 winless teams’ chances of drafting Lawrence and isn’t convinced the Vikings are unwilling to part ways with Cousins.
Here’s what he wrote:
The Vikings would be in a tough spot, having just given Kirk Cousins a big contract extension. Moving on from a mediocre 32-year old Kirk Cousins for a potential prodigy is a no-brainer, but jumping ship on Cousins would come with a steep price tag. Even still, it’s a pill Minnesota would have to swallow given the opportunity to upgrade at quarterback. Even if Lawrence isn’t quite as good as Cousins in year one, his long-term viability and immense potential make him too intriguing to pass up for the Vikings.
Lawrence will likely favor a team that will start him his rookie season, although the Vikings, with the right moves next offseason, could create an environment enticing enough for him to be willing to make the move to Minnesota. That would likely involve reinforcing the offensive line, a position group that has been historically brutal for the Vikings with only one Pro Bowl season in the past decade — Matt Kalil’s rookie year in 2012.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.