Vikings Linked to $34 Million QB Facing Potential Trade Market

O'Connell, Cousins, Vikings

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

The Minnesota Vikings‘ future at quarterback is uncertain after the franchise turned down a team discount to sign Kirk Cousins long-term in the offseason, leaving open many possibilities of who will be under center for the Vikings by next season.

One of those possibilities remains San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance, who was linked to Minnesota with a week left of training camp.

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin linked the Vikings as a potential trade suitor for Lance, considering the two teams have discussed Lance in the past and it appears he is behind Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold in training camp.

“Do the 49ers actively want to move him? Not necessarily. But would they? We already have evidence of that, with San Francisco reportedly fielding calls and even directly discussing a potential trade with the Vikings this offseason,” Benjamin wrote. “At 23, with first-round tools, Lance obviously remains a high-upside project at a critical position. But Kyle Shanahan is already comfortable with surprise standout Brock Purdy, 23, and probably trusts his own system enough to deploy Sam Darnold as the reclamation-project backup.”

Trey Lance’s Trade Value Continues to Trend Downward

Selecting Lance third overall in 2021, the 49ers gave up three first-round picks and a third-rounder to move that high on the draft board.

That’s made prying Lance away from San Francisco difficult as the 49ers front office would have to admit that the move was a failure and poor use of draft capital.

Lance has played just eight games in the NFL and played in just 19 games in three years at North Dakota State. He’s one of the most raw top-five quarterbacks in recent memory and needs the reps.

But a polarizing performance this preseason has left him third in the pecking order. Meanwhile, back in January, Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that several NFL executives said it wouldn’t cost more than a third-round pick to acquire Lance in a trade.

The 49ers may take even less after having evaluated him for a third training camp.

But why should the Vikings be interested in Lance?

Trey Lance Flashes Promise in Preseason, Gets Vikings Closer to Finding Future Franchise QB

Last week, Lance had a telling performance against the Denver Broncos.

It was a tale of highs and lows for the Marshall, Minnesota, native, who has left the 49ers fan base polarized.

On his first possession, Lance threw an interception on a simple screen pass. However, his response was emphatic leading two scoring drives, completing 6-of-6 passes on one of the drives, to clinch a 21-20 walk-off victory over Denver.

The fact remains that Lance needs a chance if he’s ever going to develop.

However, All 49ers’ Chris Polo doesn’t see a route for Lance to get more playing experience in San Francisco.

“It is becoming more evident every week that the main issue with Lance is simply a lack of reps. Perhaps if Shanahan wasn’t as hesitant in 2021 to start the guy he traded up for, this could be a much more enticing competition, as Lance would probably look like a different quarterback,” Polo wrote. “Instead, with how his development has been handled, it is almost like Lance is a third-year rookie that Shanahan sometimes doesn’t even want.”

Lance is still just 23 years old and hasn’t played nearly as many reps to say his potential is capped.

A full season in Minnesota would get Lance closer to his ceiling in the league, and if that’s nothing more than a backup quarterback, the Vikings would be positioned to select a rookie quarterback the following year with a less successful signal caller under center.

Lance’s entire contract is worth $34 million and he’s on the cap sheet for just $10 million in 2024, which would be manageable with over $10 million in dead cap sunk into Cousins in 2024 and 2025.