The Minnesota Vikings need a plan beyond quarterback Kirk Cousins when his contract expires in 2022.
But with the No. 14 overall pick and no second-rounder, Minnesota is in pick purgatory when selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft. The Vikings would miss out on a potential starter elsewhere by drafting a quarterback in the first three rounds.
After the Teddy Bridgewater trade to the Denver Broncos, Minnesota may have an opportunity to find a young quarterback to develop and at the very least serve as a bridge QB when Cousins is gone.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that third-year Broncos quarterback Drew Lock could be on the trading block if Denver drafts a quarterback at No. 9 overall — which is still on the table with Bridgewater on a one-year deal.
Here’s Breer’s report:
One veteran quarterback who could be moved this weekend: Denver third-year man Drew Lock. If the Broncos land Justin Fields or Trey Lance (which I think is a possibility), there’s a strong perception that Lock will be on the block starting Friday. One potential destination I’ve heard for Lock is Minnesota, a team that could use an affordable backup with upside.
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Lock, selected in the second round with the No. 42 overall pick by the Broncos in the 2019 NFL Draft, has had a rocky two seasons in Denver. He suffered a thumb injury in the preseason and was on injured reserve into late November that season.
Starting in the final five games of the 2019 season, Lock went 4-1 as a rookie starter and threw for 1020 passing yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions — an encouraging sign for the Broncos.
But Denver struggled along with Lock last season when he threw for 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions — tying Carson Wentz for the league-lead in picks thrown.
His reputation has taken a hit in the past year, but Lock, 24, still has plenty of time to develop and offers an opportune scenario if the Vikings opted to trade for him.
An Affordable Backup in Lock
The Broncos offensive line and team execution were considered hindrances to Lock’s development last season. However, Lock was the old regime’s pick and new general manager and former Vikings vice president of player personnel George Paton may be ready to move on and select his own quarterback — leaving Lock the odd man out.
Lock is owed a $1.057 base salary in 2021, comparable to what Sean Mannion made in 2020 as a backup. Lock could develop for the next two seasons under Cousins to complete his rookie contract and sign a one-year deal with Minnesota to provide some cap relief compared to Cousins’ cap hit.
While the makeup of Minnesota’s offense could look different by 2022, the Vikings could use the cap space to continue to reinforce an offensive line that can keep Lock upright.
His mobility as a passer is the biggest upgrade over Cousins and could prove valuable in the zone-running, play-action scheme the Vikings installed the past two seasons under the Kubiak tree.
The fact Mannion, who has been a backup under Cousins the past two seasons, remains unsigned is a tell-tale signal that Minnesota is ready to make a change at backup and potentially prepare for the future.
Lock could provide both.