Fans of both teams and NFL media personalities have fantasized about a potential quarterback trade between the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings for years.
The driving force is usually Kirk Cousins and his relationship with his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who knocked on the table for Washington to draft him in 2012. But Cousins has not been the only fit in these trade ideas in 2023.
After all, the Vikings didn’t ask about the Young QB
It really is an annual theme in NFL media. Cousins to the 49ers is a popular topic, especially since the 49ers appear to be a quarterback away while the Vikings appear to be in a semi-contending phase or competitive rebuild. They want to be in the mix, but aren’t going all in — except for the 49ers, who traded up nine spots in the 2021 draft to select Trey Lance out of NDSU with the third overall pick.
Mike Florio of Profootballtalk reported a week before the draft in April that the Vikes and 49ers were in trade talks regarding Lance during the draft.
But now came a conflicting report from Adam Schefter, who appeared on the Pat McAfee Show. He said: “There was never really a lot of interest in Trey Lance. There was no trade market and Kyle Shanahan has said they had no trade talks with teams.”
Only one of the two can be right. The Vikings always committed to Cousins for the 2023 campaign. Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Cousins is their guy for the upcoming season. However, Lance could have been an exciting project for the future after one year as Cousins’ backup.
The young QB was supposed to change their offense and add a dangerous dual-threat quarterback to Shanahan’s dynamic scheme. Two seasons later, that choice has been a disaster. The 49ers gave up three first-rounders and it hasn’t worked out. Sure, Lance is still only 23 years old, but the early results haven’t been pretty.
Lance was considered a raw prospect with great potential due to his ability to be a dual threat. The quarterback started just one season for NDSU in 2019. His 2020 season was limited to just one game due to COVID-19.
In that one season, Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and didn’t throw a single interception. Lance added 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. His ability to make big plays, take care of the ball and scramble made him the third overall pick despite the small sample size.
To start his NFL career, he lost the competition for the starting spot to Jimmy Garoppolo. He appeared in six games, mainly as a gadget player who came in to run the ball. Lance replaced Garoppolo for two games as a starter when he was injured and began the 2022 campaign atop the depth chart.
Unfortunately, Lance broke his ankle in the second game of the season and required surgery. His campaign ended in that game against the Seattle Seahawks.
He threw for 797 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions in his limited snaps in those two years with the 49ers and rushed for 235 yards and another score.
Adding to his questionable play is the emergence of Brock Purdy, the final pick in the 2022 draft. He filled in for the injured Lance and Garoppolo last season and blew everyone away. The fearsome offense was even more effective with him under center, and he’s the front-runner to be the starter if he’s recovered from his elbow injury by then.
Regardless, Lance to Minnesota won’t happen this year, but the same rumors will make a comeback in about seven months, so be prepared.
Janik Eckardt is a soccer fan who likes numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves to watch sitcoms and classic rock is his favorite music genre. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt