Vikings Seen as Wildcard Landing Spot for Lamar Jackson
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and his front office are methodically putting the 2023-24 Minnesota Vikings roster together early this offseason. They’ve let some fan favorites go, forced others to take pay cuts and signed some new contributors out of free agency.
Vikings a wildcard suitor for Lamar Jackson?
But questions surrounding the quarterback position still remain. Kwesi isn’t buying a future with Kirk Cousins, as of now, and the Vikings are expected to look QB early and often in the upcoming NFL Draft.
But what if Kwesi & Co choose a different route to their next quarterback? Like submitting an offer sheet for Lamar Jackson…? According to Jeremy Fowler (ESPN), during a SportsCenter hit on Sunday morning, the Vikings are a “wildcard” team to watch, in the Jackson drama. Here is his entire quote, for full context.
“There’s been no firm offer sheet for Lamar Jackson right now. He has not signed his franchise tag, so this all has to be hashed out and really the draft could be a good indicator for the league. Because if there’s a team in the top 10 that can’t get its passer, let’s say they’re going for Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud and can’t get him. Maybe it’s Indianapolis at No. 4 if they don’t get their guy, they could pivot to Lamar Jackson and give up two first-round picks to acquire him. We just talked about the Jets. If for some reason the Aaron Rodgers trade would fall through–nobody expects that– they could pivot to Jackson. And then when you talk about good fits, I asked some executives around the league what teams would make sense. They mention Tennessee, who just cleared some cap space. They have a new GM Ran Carthon, who’s working on the roster. They could use a running quarterback; they have experience with that in the past. And even a wild card like Minnesota. Kirk Cousins has one year left on his contract if they want to reestablish their identity there.”Jeremy Fowler on SportsCenter – ESPN (quote via Bleacher Report)
Lamar Jackson to Vikings is possible…
Some of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s moves and processes this offseason have been lauded. Others have been questioned. But one thing is for sure, the Minnesota Vikings are going through a transition period. It started last offseason, with the front office and coaching staff. Over the past few weeks, it’s kicked into high gear, as the roster starts to turn over.
Yes, Kirk Cousins remains at quarterback, but it’s worth noting that Kwesi has refused to offer him any long-term security, in exchange for immediate cap relief. Instead, the Vikings got their 2023-24 cap relief by restructuring Kirk’s contract to take a $28.5 million dead cap hit in 2024-25, if they choose not to extend him after this season.
… but not plausible.
In theory, a fit with the Minnesota Vikings might seem logical. Their QB future is up in the air and they have a new-aged front office / coaching staff that, if they were to trade for Lamar Jackson, would focus the offense around what makes him great.
But in reality, this isn’t going to happen. Cousins’ recent restructure calls for the Vikings to take on nearly $40 million in dead cap, if he is traded before June 1. There’s no way they would be able to fit Lamar Jackson’s new contract plus a $40 million dead cap hit under their already non-existent 2023-24 salary cap.
And I’m sure Kevin O’Connell gets excited about many of the things Lamar Jackson would be able to do in his offense. One thing KOC doesn’t fantasize about, however, is Lamar’s throwing ability.
Kwesi and O’Connell will pin their NFL futures to whoever the next Minnesota Vikings QB is. I can’t see them choosing a guy who can’t really throw and whose current team is willing to lose in exchange for two 1st round draft picks.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan