However, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has yet to strike a like long-term extension for any Vikings player in his two offseasons as general manager. That’s reflected onto Kirk Cousins, who after receiving a one-year contract extension in 2022 won 13 games for the Vikings but did not see a long-term extension this offseason.
Adofo-Mensah is navigating the Vikings through a rehauling of its roster, shedding aging veteran talent while remaining in the mix for the playoffs. But an answer at quarterback after Cousins, whose contract expires after the 2023 season, will determine whether Minnesota will remain stuck in the middle or make a serious run in the post-Cousins era.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballantine suggested on July 29 that the Vikings remedy the question of who will be the next quarterback by trading third- and fourth-round draft picks to acquire San Francisco 49ers dual-threat quarterback Trey Lance.
The Minnesota Vikings need an off-ramp for the Kirk Cousins era. The veteran quarterback will be 35 before the season starts, and the team continues to push more of his money into the future in the form of void years.
The problem is that this is a team that shouldn’t be bad enough in the foreseeable future to be in position to draft a blue-chip quarterback prospect. That would require a massive trade like the one the San Francisco 49ers did to move from No. 12 to 3 in the 2021 draft.
Or they could give up much less to take on the very quarterback the Niners did that move for.
Trey Lance remains a man of mystery for the most part. Between waiting behind Jimmy Garoppolo and suffering a season-ending ankle injury, he’s only attempted a little over 100 passes and made four starts.
Trey Lance Climbing QB Depth Chart at 49ers Training Camp
The third quarterback taken in the 2021 draft, Lance has had a tough run in the NFL due to a season-ending ankle injury ending his first season as a starter. He’s one of the most inexperienced first-round quarterbacks in NFL history after losing a year of playing experience to COVID-19.
Since 2020, Lance has thrown just 132 passes in live games. He’s unproven, sure, but he could also be considered untapped.
San Francisco’s pivot to Brock Purdy last season spelled that the seventh-round pick is the presumptive starter entering 2023. But with Purdy absent at training camp on July 30, it was Lance, not veteran Sam Darnold, who took the majority of first-team reps, which appears to be the case since spring drills.
However, it’s going to take more than one day for Lance to shake the bust bug from his public image. The previous day, national media clung to a report that Lance was QB3 at camp, making his presence in San Francisco polarizing among pundits and fans alike.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t yet declared which quarterback will be the team’s starter, and it truly could be anyone considering Purdy was QB3 at this time last year. That could make it hard to pry Lance away from the 49ers, but if he loses ground in the quarterback battle, San Francisco may be ready to jump ship on the Minnesota native.
Trey Lance Gets Vikings Out of the Middle
Whether Lance in Minnesota would bring success or be a complete failure gets the Vikings where they need to be.
Either Lance plays up to his draft status and becomes a bonafide playmaker and exploits an abundance of weapons on offense or the Vikings have a losing season and are positioned to draft a proven prospect.
The new Vikings regime showed it’s not willing to draft just any first-round quarterback, passing on Kentucky quarterback Will Levis in April, and should be given the leeway to take a chance on their own guy.
Lance could be him. But if he’s not in a trial year in Minnesota, the Vikings won’t have to hemorrhage the future to take a swing inside the top 10 of the draft.