Vikings Trade Proposal Nets Minnesota $262.5 Million QB

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

As the NFL draft approaches, the chances the Minnesota Vikings can trade up for a quarterback appear to be growing slimmer. But there are other ways to land a franchise player.

The New England Patriots wants three first-round draft picks and more for the third overall pick, while the odds that the Los Angles Chargers select a quarterback themselves at No. 5 have shot up from 1% to 14%, per ESPN sports betting analyst Joe Fortenbaugh.

“Prop: Chargers to draft a QB with their FIRST pick: Market open: 100/1, Yesterday: 15/1, Today: 6/1,” Fortenbaugh posted to X on Tuesday, April 23.

Chargers’ Interest in J.J. McCarthy Would Presumably Create Trade Market for Justin Herbert

Jim Harbaugh JJ McCarthy Michigan

GettyFormer Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (left) and head coach Jim Harbaugh.

If the Chargers are interested in selecting a quarterback in the draft, thereby resetting the contract clock at the position, that would indicate a high likelihood that the team will also pursue a trade involving their current signal-caller Justin Herbert.

Los Angeles is the team that Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates of ESPN have both long predicted would be the eventual trade partner for the Vikings to move into the top five. Most draft scenarios mocked by experts like Kiper and Yates, including their most recent join mock on April 15, have QBs Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye coming off the board in some order to the Chicago Bears (No. 1), Washington Commanders (No.2) and either the Patriots or a trade partner (No. 3).

Assuming the Chargers want a quarterback at No. 5, the most likely scenario is that new head coach Jim Harbaugh selects J.J. McCarthy, as the two just captured a National Title together for the University of Michigan in January. That would presumably remove all remaining incentive for the Vikings to trade up for a quarterback, leaving them with two choices — draft a player like Bo Nix of Oregon or Michael Penix Jr. of Washington at either No. 11 or No. 23, or put together a trade offer for Herbert.

Justin Herbert Elite NFL QB, But Contract Complicates His Trade Value

Justin Herbert Chargers

GettyLos Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

Precisely what the trade price for Herbert might be is difficult to gauge, as he brings several plusses and at least one major negative to the equation of a deal.

Herbert is a previous first-round pick (No. 1 out of Oregon in 2020) and is only 26 years old as he approaches his fifth NFL season. The former Pro Bowler (2021) has never thrown for fewer than 3,100 yards, accumulating 3,134 across 13 games last year for a career-low, per Pro Football Reference.

He has eclipsed 4,000 yards passing twice and 5,000 yards once on the way to a 66.6% career completion percentage and 114 total TD passes in 62 games played. The Vikings offense would be downright terrifying from Day 1 if Minnesota added Herbert to a roster that already includes Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and Aaron Jones.

But as good as all of that reads, Herbert won’t come cheap, even if the Vikings got him for next to nothing in a trade — which won’t happen, by the way. The Chargers signed Herbert to a five-year contract extension worth $262.5 million in July 2023, which keeps him under contract through the 2029 campaign.

Vikings Must Consider Financial Implications, Including New Deal for Justin Jefferson, in QB Calculations

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.

That kind of QB security is wonderful to have, locking up an elite performer through the end of the decade on an annual average salary that is astronomical now but probably won’t be three or four years down the road as the league’s cap increases and different quarterbacks sign bigger deals.

But Minnesota has been working to navigate its own cap issues for the last couple of seasons, and part of the allure of drafting a solution at quarterback is that he plays his first four years on a rookie-scale deal. Those savings would allow the Vikings the freedom to sign an All-Pro caliber receiver to a record-setting deal, such as Jefferson who just happens to be playing on the fifth and final year of his rookie deal in 2024.

Trading for Herbert — which would certainly cost Minnesota at least one of its two first-round picks this year, and likely considerably more — then pairing him with Jefferson looks awesome on its face. But paying just the two of them an average of between $85-$90 million annually for several consecutive seasons will hamstring the team’s ability to round out the rest of the roster with elite-level talent beyond what the Vikings can find in the draft.

That said, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is under legitimate pressure to find a long-term solution under center. If he can’t trade into the top five, Herbert offers Minnesota a known commodity at the game’s most important position. The other options are Nix and Penix, but drafting either player would be tantamount to Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell wagering their jobs on that player, which is a great deal to risk on a player who has never taken a single snap in the NFL.

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