Minnesota Vikings rumors: Trade talk and free agent targets

Although their cap space may be a bit tight this year, a new offseason always brings more opportunities to improve.

Aug 30, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings logo on the sideline during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

MINNESOTA VIKINGS RUMORS: The Vikings have emerged as sellers with the trade deadline around the corner, opening the door for potential blockbuster trades. With the likes of Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris potentially available, plenty of calls will be made.

As a team headed nowhere this season with limited cap space going forward, the Vikings could look to move some pieces to collect draft picks for the future.

Minnesota Vikings trade rumors

Down below, we dive further into which players the team could trade and why. We also draw up a few potential trades to determine what compensation the Vikings could receive in a potential deal. 

Adam Thielen trade to the Cleveland Browns?

Reuniting Adam Thielen with Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland

Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season. Prior to that, Cleveland’s passing attack was miserable. Now with one less talented target, it could get ugly in the fight for a playoff spot.

We have a solution. Thielen is on a reasonable contract, with the 12th-highest salary among his peers. On top of that, he also has familiarity with Stefanski. Thielen signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and was around Stefanski until he accepted the job in Cleveland.

With the Vikings headed nowhere and Justin Jefferson showing he can be a superstar, Thielen’s name has circulated in trade rumors. Although a trade from his hometown team is unlikely, sometimes it’s fun for fans to speculate.

  • Vikings get: 2021 second-round draft pick and 2021 sixth-round pick
  • Browns get: Adam Thielen

Kyle Rudolph trade to the Carolina Panthers?

Pairing Kyle Rudolph with Teddy Bridgewater

As we previously highlighted, Rudolph doesn’t see many targets in this offense and the Vikings already have a plug-and-play starter ready. While he may not want to leave his comfort zone, he may not have much of a choice if the Vikings receive an offer they can’t refuse.

Several teams could theoretically be interested in a player of his caliber. As a loyal Viking for many years, it’s possible the team tries to do right by Rudolph, sending him to play with his old teammate from 2014-2017, Teddy Bridgewater. 

  • Vikings get: 2021 fifth-round draft pick and 2022 seventh-round pick
  • Panthers get: Kyle Rudolph

Riley Reiff trade to the Los Angeles Chargers

Chargers nab Riley Reiff to protect Justin Herbert

Before the season began, the Vikings reportedly considered cutting Riley Reiff loose before he agreed to restructure his contract. The Vikings may already have Reiff’s replacement on the roster, at right tackle in Brian O’Neill. Ideally, a future offensive line for the Vikings would place O’Neill at left and Ezra Cleveland on the right, so why not see how it works for the rest of this season?

  • Vikings get: 2021 fourth-round draft pick
  • Chargers get: Riley Reiff

Anthony Harris trade to the Washington Football Team

Vikings send Anthony Harris home

Unless the Vikings re-sign him, Anthony Harris is a free agent after the season. If they can get anything more than a third-round draft pick for Harris, the Vikings should trade him.

If he signs with another team in free agency, the Vikings would likely receive a compensatory selection in 2022. The specific round of the compensatory pick would depend on the value of the contract, but there is a chance it could be a third-round selection. So, Minnesota will want a strong return.

Harris spent his life growing upn in Virginia. A deal sending him to the Washington Football Team offers a chance to play where he grew up. Not to mention their safety Landon Collins is now out for the year with a torn Achilles.

  • Vikings get: 2021 third-round draft pick and 2022 fifth-round pick
  • Washington Football Team gets: Anthony Harris

Harrison Smith trade to the Tennessee Titans

It’s unlikely Mike Zimmer would go along with trading Smith, but let’s play along for a moment. If the star safety wanted out of Minnesota and the organization committed to a restructure, maybe a trade could happen.

The Titans are taking a win-now approach and would offer Smith the chance to compete for a Super Bowl. Not only that, they have the Minneapolis-born Amani Hooker, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. A versatile safety, he would give the Vikings a talented option at a position where they currently lack depth.

  • Vikings get: 2021 third-round draft pick and safety Amani Hooker
  • Titans get: Harrison Smith

Dan Bailey trade to the Los Angeles Rams

Kicking Dan Bailey out of the Twin Cities

A kicker getting traded isn’t really a big deal, but the Vikings don’t need Bailey’s reliable leg if they won’t be contending. So, they make calls around the league to contenders seeking stability in the clutch.

In this case, if the Vikings can manage to get anything for the 32-year old Dan Bailey, they might as well entertain it. By sending him to the Rams, he still gets to kick in a cozy indoor stadium at times. That should keep him happy.

  • Vikings get: 2021 sixth-round draft pick
  • Rams get: Dan Bailey

For the record, I hope most of these players don’t get traded, unless they want to be of course. Thielen is a fan favorite and is still in his prime. The same goes for Smith.

However, trading Reiff and Harris makes sense for the team in the long run. Although, there is risk to a trade. Behind Harris, there is no viable backup to step in and play.

Beyond that, veterans like Tajae Sharpe are more than likely available, but it is unlikely anyone would offer anything of value. Pat Elflein’s contract is also up at the end of the year and hasn’t exactly earned a second one, so he’s free to go. Though it is doubtful anyone would offer much.

Minnesota Vikings free agent rumors 2021

Minnesota Vikings Rumors
Aug 30, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings logo on the sideline during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Thuney, offensive guard

  • Joe Thuney would immediately become the best and most versatile offensive lineman the Vikings have along the interior
  • In his career, he has played guard, offensive tackle and even some snaps at center
  • All offseason, Thuney’s name kept coming up in trade rumors as the Patriots failed to negotiate a long-term contract
  • The Patriots tend to let their top free agents sign with other teams so they can collect compensatory draft picks later

Brandon Scherff, offensive guard

  • Scherff has started every game he has played at right guard in the NFL
  • With three Pro Bowl selections, he would immediately become the best offensive guard on the Vikings
  • Coming into 2020, Scherff was ranked as PFF’s ninth-best interior offensive lineman in the NFL

Richard Sherman, cornerback

  • At age 32, the five-time Pro Bowl player is known to have a high football IQ
  • The big, physical playmaker is a willing tackler while being a shutdown corner
  • In 2018, before he signed with the San Francisco 49ers, it was reported that Sherman wanted to be on the same team as Kirk Cousins

Patrick Peterson, cornerback

  • At 6-foot-1, Peterson brings size and speed at the cornerback position
  • The seven-time Pro Bowl playmaker is also known to have good hands, having played several offensive snaps throughout his Arizona Cardinals career
  • Peterson has handled many kick and punt returns, and has shown the ability to make players miss

Dak Prescott, quarterback

  • At just 27 years old, the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback would be a huge improvement over Kirk Cousins
  • Showing plenty of mobility and the ability to throw on the run without turning the ball over, he would give the Vikings a quarterback similar to Randall Cunningham
  • In Gary Kubiak’s bootleg play-action offense, Dak Prescott would be a perfect fit
  • There is no way the Vikings could remain loyal to Cousins, if Prescott actually showed some interest in signing with them
  • Of course, Prescott has to show that his leg has fully healed up before teams give him the contract he’s after

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