Rivals Report Vikings Actively Seeking Trade, Narrow Targets to 2 QBs

Getty Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell.

The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed the rumors that they’re interested in trading up for a QB in next week’s NFL draft, according to some of the rival teams they’ve been calling.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler appeared on a Sunday, April 21 edition of “SportsCenter” and reported that rival executives have informed him the Vikings have been actively seeking an opportunity to move up. Fowler added that the same two quarterbacks’ names have continued to emerge as Minnesota’s targets.

“I’ve talked to multiple teams inside the top 10 who say the Vikings have been calling around,” Fowler said, per Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report. “Even though the Vikings aren’t revealing who they’re looking at, they’re guessing it’s either Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy as potential quarterback options.”

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Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy

GettyQuarterbacks Drake Maye of UNC (left), Jayden Daniels of LSU (middle) and J.J. McCarthy of Michigan (right).

Maye and McCarthy have received the most buzz as the Vikings’ primary trade-up targets for weeks, though there is significance in Fowler making that distinction five days ahead of draft night via multiple inside sources around the league.

First, it makes clear that nabbing a top-four prospect in this year’s draft is, in fact, Minnesota’s Plan A. There is a chance a team like the New York Giants could swipe the fourth quarterback off the board ahead of the Vikings, at which point Minnesota might pivot to a player like Bo Nix of Oregon or Michael Penix Jr. of Washington. But that isn’t the desired path, assuming that Fowler’s report is accurate.

Second, the Vikings either aren’t high on Jayden Daniels of LSU or simply don’t buy the hype that he could fall out of the No. 2 spot with the Washington Commanders into a range where they might feasibly be able to trade up and select him.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report argued on April 20 that Minnesota should pass on Daniels if he falls to them and/or that the team shouldn’t trade up to pursue him. Ballentine’s justification for that argument is Daniels’ purported lack of arm talent.

“His athleticism and willingness to hang tough in the pocket when needed gives him a high ceiling. But … [his] arm talent could be his undoing,” Ballentine wrote. “The Vikings need a quarterback who can deliver the ball to Justin JeffersonJordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson in the intermediate areas of the field. If they’re going to give up a bounty of picks to get into the top four, it should be for someone who’s capable of taking full advantage of their pass-catching corps.”

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Kirk Cousins, Kevin O'Connell

GettyHead coach Kevin O’Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings and former quarterback Kirk Cousins (left).

The Giants, or another team like the Denver Broncos (No. 12) or Las Vegas Raiders (No. 13), could trade up and force Minnesota into another path. But if that doesn’t happen, then the Vikings likely land their quarterback of the future somewhere inside the first five picks.

The New England Patriots are options at No. 3, though they will require an offer perhaps more expensive than even Minnesota is willing to make to move off that spot. Next are the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 and Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5.

Whatever best opportunity presents itself, it may be one the Vikings have to take. Jefferson is entering the final year of his rookie deal, a team option for $19.7 million, and now has even more leverage via the QB spot to hold over Minnesota’s proverbial head.

Sam Darnold is on a one-year contract, with Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall behind him, in a quarterback room that isn’t equipped to win a Super Bowl in 2024 and, based on historical evidence, probably isn’t good enough to win one ever.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell are entering their third years on the job and regressed last season from a division winner the year prior to a 7-10 team without a long-term answer at the sport’s most important position — and that was before they let Kirk Cousins walk in free agency. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions made the playoffs, and the Chicago Bears are about to select the highest-touted QB prospect in years in Caleb Williams.

The time to hesitate is over, and the Vikings are on the clock.

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