Vikings Trade Pitch Would Land $118 Million QB From AFC

Vikings Trade Pitch Would Land $118 Million QB From AFC

The Minnesota Vikings need to add a quarterback and their playoff hopes hang in the balance of that monumental decision.

Kirk Cousins is done for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, a huge blow as the quarterback was producing Pro Bowl-caliber numbers and led Minnesota back from the brink of irrelevance with three consecutive wins over the last three weeks. Backup QB Nick Mullens is on injured reserve (IR) for at least one more game and rookie Jaren Hall has fumbled on 25% of his exactly four regular-season NFL snaps.

The list of Minnesota’s options could be a dozen signal-callers long if the team gets imaginative with its search. Free agency is the cleaner path to an addition under center and doesn’t carry the clock on a decision that the trade deadline does (Tuesday, October 31, at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time). But the free-agent list is also full of players not desirable enough at their current price points to even appear on a roster halfway through the season.

The list of trade options are a little more complicated, but they’re also a little sexier and inspire a bit more confidence with regards to a potential playoff run. Atop that group is former Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill is battling a high ankle sprain he sustained during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 15. He had the bye week to recover, sat out Sunday’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons and isn’t projected to start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Thursday Night Football showcase scheduled for November 2.

Nate Davis of USA Today on Monday made the case for a half-season partnership between the Vikings and Tannehill, who is playing in the final campaign of a four-year, $118 million contract he inked with Tennessee in 2020.

“He’s presently down with an ankle injury, and the remainder of his $27 million base salary would surely be a source of consternation even though Tannehill’s deal is up after the season,” Davis wrote.

“And yet he’s got Pro Bowl pedigree, led Tennessee to a No. 1 playoff seed not even two years ago, and his recovery might dovetail nicely enough with the circumstances — giving him time to learn the system while [Sean] Mannion or Mullens holds down the fort in the short run. Worth considering if the finances can be ironed out — especially since rookie Will Levis’ performance Sunday suggests Tannehill might have already played his final snap in Nashville.”

Mannion is on Minnesota’s practice squad and the team is likely to elevate him to the active roster as they sort out their next move at quarterback. He served as a reserve with the Vikings between 2019-21 and started two games for the team.

He could place hold for the Vikings’ road contest against the Falcons on November 5, after which Mullens will be eligible to return from IR. Tannehill could also be ready to go by the time Minnesota hosts the New Orleans Saints on November 12.

Tannehill is 80-69 as an NFL starter and has amassed 34,393 passing yards, 214 touchdowns and 114 interceptions across his 11-year career, per Pro Football Reference. He earned Pro-Bowl honors in 2019 and has won two playoff games with Tennessee.

Tannehill may have the most impressive resumé of any QB the Vikings might be able to acquire, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the most likely acquisition.

Colt McCoy has a history with head coach Kevin O’Connell from their days with the Washington Commanders (2017-19). The 12-year NFL veteran also worked out with Minnesota in October after Mullens went down with a back injury.

O’Connell has a history of reuniting with former players, while Minnesota has a history of interviewing free-agent candidates and adding them down the line if and when injury necessitates it. Offensive guard Dalton Risner, who has started the Vikings’ last two games, is a prime example of the latter.

The 37-year-old McCoy most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2022 and has been a free agent the entire season.

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