Vikings Predicted to Make Blockbuster Draft Trade With NFC Rival

O'Connell, Cousins, Vikings

Getty Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell (left) and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

If the Minnesota Vikings are indeed moving on from Kirk Cousins by 2024, the time is now to draft his successor and allow them to study under the veteran for a season before Cousins tests free agency next offseason.

Minnesota will have to move up to do so, but a rival with a penchant for trading first-round picks may help the Vikings in making the move that will define the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell regime.

Vikings Predicted to Land No. 10 Overall Pick in Trade With Eagles’s Chad Reuter listed five draft day trades that make sense and predicted the Vikings trading with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire the No. 10 overall pick among his logical outcomes for the draft.

Minnesota would give up the No. 23 overall pick, its third-round pick at No. 87 overall and a 2024 first-rounder to move inside the top 10 of the draft to select its quarterback of the future in Reuter’s trade proposal.

Here’s Reuter’s proposal:

There’s never been a draft in which four quarterbacks were selected among the first nine overall picks. With C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young considered by many observers to be the top two passers in the class, it seems likely that Will Levis or Anthony Richardson (both talented in their own right) will be available at No. 10, much like Justin Fields in 2021, when the Bears traded for the 11th overall pick to select him.

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell might covet one of the top quarterback prospects in the class, with the idea that said prospect will take over for Kirk Cousins, who turns 35 in August and is headed for free agency after the 2023 season. Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman has made at least one trade involving a first-round pick in all but one of the past seven drafts. If the Eagles aren’t interested in something like the above deal, the Vikings could still call other teams in the middle of the first round if they like one of the available signal-callers.

Moving from the late first round into the top dozen overall picks for a quarterback is not unheard of — in addition to the Bears jumping from No. 20 to No. 11 for Fields, the Chiefs (who grabbed Patrick Mahomes after going from No. 27 to No. 10 overall) and Texans (who selected Deshaun Watson after going from No. 25 to No. 12) made similar moves in 2017. Kansas City had a solid veteran on the roster (Alex Smith) when trading up — a similar situation to the one in which Minnesota finds itself. Not that I’m projecting Levis or Richardson to be as successful as Mahomes, but they both certainly have the potential to be longtime starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

While the Vikings haven’t ever selected a quarterback inside the top 10, the new regime showed a willingness to take risks and move up and down the draft board. Adofo-Mensah made two trades in the division with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions and ended his first draft with the most trades by any front office. Coupled with the Eagles’ trend of trading in the first round, a potential deal does make sense (the two front offices have a rapport after the Jalen Reagor trade last September as well.)

The Vikings also considered trading up less than two years ago to acquire Justin Fields, showing that the franchise has considered finding a young quarterback to pivot to once Cousins’ time is up.

 Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Unafraid to Trade

Adofo-Mensah has wheeled and dealed in his first calendar year in Minnesota.

The former stock trader turned analytics-driven general manager made 11 trades between his first draft and first season at the helm of the Vikings franchise, including making three interdivisional trades.

He took some critique for potentially setting up the Lions and Packers with their wide receivers of the future in Jameson Williams and Christian Watson. However, in making those trades on draft day, he acquired four picks inside the top 70 players of the 2022 draft — Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr., Brian Asamoah and Ed Ingram. The Vikings’ rookie class didn’t contribute how they had hoped, however, the verdict is still out on the group.

That didn’t stop Adofo-Mensah from doubling down in the division, acquiring T.J. Hockenson at the trade deadline in exchange for a second-round pick. The move has paid dividends as the young general manager continues to make moves not for the faint of heart.

We talk about culture, meaning process, and the way we do things, but it’s also just the people,” Adofo-Mensah said in his year-end press conference in January. “How they relate, how they show up and set a standard. That group of people, it’s going to be foundational in that element. So, we’ve got to consider those things, also, in addition to the production on the field. But really, at the end of the day, we’re trying to meet the talent threshold, a way of playing, for this team that’s a championship standard.”