Nearly two months of free agency and one NFL Draft have come and gone, and the only addition the Vikings have made to the position group is fifth-round rookie Jalen Hall out of BYU. The free agent crop has dried up and big ticket names like Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson have either been traded or returned to their home team and a mountain of cash.
One intriguing name still floating around the NFL ether is Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners flipped two first-round picks and a third-rounder to move up nine spots and select Lance third overall in 2021. Then an untimely injury, the emergence of Brock Purdy and the signing of another former No. 3 pick in Sam Darnold conspired to displace Lance from what had been a surefire starting gig in the Bay Area.
Lance may soon need a new home, and the Vikings have a favorable locker to let in their quarterback room.
Vikings Have Shown Recent Interest in 49ers QB Trey Lance
The Vikings approached the 49ers at the NFL Combine in March to discuss Lance’s availability, per an April 19 report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. There has been no word as to what San Francisco was looking for in return or why no deal happened ahead of the draft, when Minnesota could have provided more assets for the Niners to put in play in 2023.
Other than that, however, nothing material has changed on either side of the equation. Lance still feels like the odd man out entering the third year of a $34.1 million rookie contract that San Francisco will pay him to sit on the bench. Lance’s trade value remains significant, though will presumably diminish with time if he can’t get on the field. Then there is the issue of the quarterback’s fifth-year option, which must be exercised by whatever franchise is employing him by May 2024.
The Vikings have a bonafide starter in Cousins but have passed up opportunities to extend him long-term in each of the past two offseasons. Cousins turns 35 years old this year and doesn’t fit the timeline of wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, who will play the upcoming season at the ages of 24 and 21, respectively.
Trey Lance Trade Still Viable For Vikings Following NFL Draft
A deal for Lance can still make sense in both Minnesota and San Francisco. Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report suggested on Sunday, May 7, that a trade between the two sides remains feasible this summer.
At this point, we just want to see what Trey Lance can do. Through a series of wild circumstances, Lance has not played in two full back-to-back games since 2019.
Now general manager John Lynch has indicated that the starting job is Purdy’s to lose when he comes back from the elbow injury that he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. That leaves Lance’s path to playing time a bit murky in the Bay. A trade to the Minnesota Vikings would set him up as the heir apparent to Kirk Cousins.
Perhaps this one will still come to fruition when Purdy is healthy enough that Lance becomes more expendable to the Niners.
The only element that requires resolution is what the framework of a deal for Lance would look like. His ankle surgery and limited NFL experience are liable to drive his price down, though the Niners won’t likely be inclined to accept anything less than a first-round pick in 2024 for a quarterback who doesn’t turn 24 years old until June and has the physical tools required to be a star at the game’s highest level.
Lance is liable to be happy with a move to Minnesota, his home state, where he can start fresh under offensive guru Kevin O’Connell. There won’t be any pressure on Lance to perform immediately, as Cousins is under contract through the season and rarely misses games.