Ex-Vikings LB Calls Out Patriots for Attempt to Fleece Minnesota in QB Trade

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have amassed assets to trade up for a quarterback, which was all but certain to lead to chicanery on the part of the teams holding the top NFL draft cards.

Former Vikings linebacker and current analyst Ben Leber of KFAN accused the New England Patriots of exactly that on Tuesday, April 2.

“The recent public attraction the Patriots have to JJ McCarthy is nothing more than them driving up the price of the #3 spot,” Leber posted to X.

Vikings May Be Able to Land J.J. McCarthy at Pick No. 5 Via Trade With Chargers

jj mccarthy

GettyFormer Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy is flying up draft boards across the NFL.

The Vikings own the No. 11 overall pick. They traded a couple of second-rounders, and then some, to acquire the No. 23 selection from the Houston Texans. And several analysts, including Field Yates of ESPN, believe Minnesota may need/be willing to add a 2025 first-round selection to mix so as to move into the top five and select their QB of choice.

In Yates’ most recent mock draft, he predicted the Vikings will get that deal done with the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5 rather than the Patriots at No. 3.

“I have the Vikings sending Nos. 11 and 23 this year and an additional 2025 first-rounder to the Chargers to move up to No. 5 for the class’ QB4,” Yates wrote. “Minnesota would be betting on McCarthy’s combination of very good ball placement and mobility helping him become its long-term answer, with Sam Darnold in tow for 2024 if McCarthy needs time to get his feet wet.”

Of course, getting all the way to the third pick would be considerably more valuable to Minnesota for multiple reasons.

Vikings May Be Forced to Pay Patriots’ Price to Guarantee Top-4 QB of Choice

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

GettyHead coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

First, it would guarantee that the Vikings land one of this year’s top four QB prospects.

The Chicago Bears will almost certainly select Caleb Williams No. 1, while the Washington Commanders appear likely to draft a signal-caller with the second pick. If New England stands pat and selects its own quarterback third, the Vikings open themselves up to losing out on the position altogether if a team like the Denver Broncos makes a godfather offer to the Arizona Cardinals and swoops in at No. 4.

That’s the first problem. The second issue — and the potential fear that Leber is accusing the Patriots’ of stoking — is that Minnesota won’t get its player of choice if it waits to draft him until No. 5. Even if the Vikings can strike a deal with L.A. and the Cardinals stay home and select the top wide receiver on their board, Minnesota has zero agency over the top-four QB it actually gets to select.

By moving to third, the Vikings can solidify their trade capital into the signal-caller they like most. If general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell truly have strong feelings about who they prefer between McCarthy and Drake Maye, the Patriots are smart to leverage the No. 3 pick to squeeze more value out of the Vikings.

Three first-rounders is a lot for Minnesota to part with just to move up six spots with the Chargers, and Yates could be overestimating the cost of that deal. So it could be the 2025 first-rounder, off the table at No. 5, for which the Patriots are angling. Or, maybe they just want an extra Day-2 pick and think there’s more to get before negotiations are complete.

Read More