49ers’ Trey Lance linked to Vikings’ $35 million QB Conundrum

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers holding a football.

As the NFL world comes to grips with the New York Jets’ decision to acquire Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers, another team in the NFC North has been linked to a new quarterback via trade, the Minnesota Vikings, who reportedly have eyes for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance as the heir apparent for long-time starter Kirk Cousins.

Discussing the matter on his Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio noted that while it’s been reported that the 49ers were actively discussing a trade for Lance, he learned that one of the teams who was on the opposite end of the conversations was Minnesota.

“At this year’s Scouting Combine, there were rumors of a potential Kirk Cousins trade from Minnesota to San Francisco,” Florio wrote. “Those rumors may have come from the reality that the 49ers and Vikings had discussions about another quarterback.

“Per a league source, the two teams talked about Trey Lance.”

Despite finishing out the 2022 NFL season with a 13-4 record and the top record in the NFC North, the Vikings are approaching a very uncertain future, with 35 players slated to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2023 season. With Lance a native of Minnesota who played his college ball three and a half hours northwest of Milwaukee in Fargo, North Dakota, fans have already warmed up to the idea of the collegiate Bison in purple and yellow. Whether GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah agrees, however, remains to be seen, as John Lynch isn’t actively trying to trade his 22-year-old quarterback unless the right deal is on the table.

The San Francisco 49ers Aren’t Just Giving Trey Lance Away

Discussing the state of the 49ers heading into the 2023 NFL draft, Lynch was asked about the rumors flying around regarding Lance’s availability and laid out the team’s stance on his availability plainly.

“I think there’s a lot of smoke, really, and that it hasn’t been extremely active,” Lynch said via ESPN. “And it’s not like we’ve put it out there that, hey, we’re taking offers for Trey, call 1-800. It’s not been the process. People’s job in this is to ask questions. Has that happened on a couple occasions? Sure. But it hasn’t been that substantive.”

With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, it’s hard to take anything a general manager says as gospel, as teams are seldom looking to give away their plans before they come to fruition, lest they have to negotiate in the public forum. Still, Lynch assured reporters and fans alike that the 49ers and Lance are on the same page, and he is excited to see how the soon-to-be third-year quarterback operates under center this fall.

“Trey and I have talked, and we’re on the same page, and Trey knows exactly where the situation is,” Lynch said. “His mindset is all about competing, and I think that’s exactly where his mindset should be. We’re excited about the position he’s put himself in with the work he’s done this offseason, and number one, get healthy. Number two, improve upon some things that he really wanted to improve upon.”

John Lynch Believes Trey Lance Can Help in 2023

Elsewhere in his pre-draft media session, Lynch noted that, because of Brock Purdy’s injury, the 49ers not only expect Lance to be a member of the team in time for Week 1, but actually help them win games on the field.

“Absolutely. I expect Trey to be here, and we’re excited about Trey’s ability to compete and what he can do for our franchise just as we were when we drafted Trey,” Lynch said. “And I think the only thing that’s changed this offseason is that Trey’s gone and got himself healthy. He was injured last year. He’s done a really good job of doing that. He’s done some different things in terms of his training this offseason. He’s very encouraged by that, and we’ll see when we get an opportunity to get out there on the field with him. But we have every reason to be encouraged as well.”

After winning the starting spot coming out of training camp in 2022 – a competition made easy by Jimmy Garoppolo’s absence from the team – it’s clear Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers’ coaching staff like how Lance fits in their offensive scheme. If he’s still on the team after the draft and heading into training camp, it will be incredibly interesting to see how he fares in a quarterback battle with Sam Darnold, whom many opposing teams believe could play meaningful snaps for the team early in the season.

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