Breaking: Vikings Closing In On Deal To Sign $283.2 Million QB In Proposed Blockbuster Trade

Breaking: Vikings Closing In On Deal To Sign $283.2 Million QB In Proposed Blockbuster Trade

The Minnesota Vikings seem to be all in to select their quarterback of the future in April, but they passed on a better, more feasible alternative.

After free agency started, Kirk Cousins joined with the Atlanta Falcons, leaving the starting position in Minnesota empty. The Chicago Bears were still selling quarterback Justin Fields at the time, and they were also coming to terms with the possibility of not receiving a second-round return in a deal.

In the end, Fields was dealt by the Bears to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2025, which becomes a fourth-round pick should he play five percent of the offensive snaps for the team in 2024. Chicago agreed to take that meager return, at least in part, because general manager Ryan Poles wanted to fulfill his promise to Fields to “do right.”

It turned out that meant getting Fields moved as soon as possible to one of four locations that the quarterback thought would be ideal for his long-term. As per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, Pittsburgh was among them, but Minnesota was also one.

“The Steelers were one of four teams on Fields’ radar prior to the start of free agency, along with the Vikings, Raiders and Falcons, a source familiar with Fields’ thinking said,” Pryor wrote on Friday, March 29.

Vikings Could Have Acquired Justin Fields for Day-3 Draft Pick

It is unclear if the Vikings and the Bears ever had any kind of negotiations regarding a possible trade for Fields, but it is hard to imagine that head coach Kevin O’Connell and general manager Kwasi Adofo-Mensah weren’t at least aware of Fields’ interest in Minnesota as a top-four destination.

Although the initial outlay would have been less than what the team would have paid to select a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft, the math on a Fields deal would have been difficult for the Vikings.

Minnesota most likely would have had to outbid the Steelers for Fields. They could have done so, though, by giving Chicago only a fifth-round selection with terms that elevated it to a fourth-round selection.

Rather, Minnesota obtained the No. 23 overall pick earlier this month by trading two seconds and a sixth to the Houston Texans. The reason the Vikings did so, according to most observers, is that they plan to package that pick with their No. 11 pick in an attempt to get into the top five and take a prospect like J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye. Depending on how high the Vikings try to trade and what kind of competition there is for that draft spot, doing so might ultimately cost Minnesota a 2025 first-round pick as well.

Vikings Avoided Significant Financial Decisions at QB Position by Passing on Chance to Trade for Justin Fields

That being said, Fields will probably cost a lot more in the near future.

Fields’ rookie contract was worth $18.9 million, but the Steelers acquired him for the $3.2 million in salary that remained. This is a great deal for the former No. 11 overall choice. But they also traded for the team’s decision regarding Fields’ $25.7 fifth-year option, which they have to make by the beginning of May.

Fields will become a free agent in March 2025 if Pittsburgh chooses not to exercise that option. At that point, Spotrac puts the former Bears starter’s market worth at north of $47 million per year over a new six-year contract ($283.2 million total). That makes the player extremely pricey.

Minnesota’s choice to stay out of a trade for Fields spared it all those important financial decisions. Additionally, the Vikings averted the possibility of having to start the quarterback search over in 2025 by exchanging a Day-3 pick for one season of a quarterback they might not want to re-sign, at least not at Fields’ desired number.

In the event that Minnesota acquires a top rookie prospect, the player will sign a four-year rookie contract with a fifth-year option that the Vikings can exercise. The deal will be cost-controlled. The organization doesn’t want to have to rely on Sam Darnold to start in 2024 with so many talented pass catchers on the roster.

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