Vikings players that could be dealt at 2020 trade deadline
At 1-5, it’s more likely that the Minnesota Vikings will be booking offseason plans in January than preparing for a playoff game.
According to Playoff Status, only the Atlanta Falcons (2-6) have a worse chance of making the playoffs in the NFC than the Vikings. Football Outsiders hands Minnesota a 0.9% chance to win the division and just 2.1% chance to win a wild-card spot. Tankathon projects the Vikings will get the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
Although general manager Rick Spielman refuses to accept the word “rebuild,” his actions speak louder than words. The Vikings traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a player they acquired in August, for two draft picks on Oct. 22.
With the Nov. 3 trade deadline approaching quickly, there could be other Vikings players on the block. Who could be next?
QB KIRK COUSINS
Not going to happen, friends. Sorry. Cousins is locked into his contract through the 2022 campaign. Not even Dallas owner Jerry Jones, who tends to throw money around and desperately needs a quarterback with both starter Dak Prescott and backup Andy Dalton injured, would take Cousins right now. Movin’ on.
S ANTHONY HARRIS
Harris is one of the more intriguing options on Minnesota’s roster to deal, as he signed a franchise tag for 2020 and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. In six contests, Harris has logged 39 tackles (one for loss) and two passes defensed. Although he doesn’t have an interception yet, he tied for the NFL lead with six picks in 2019 (and added one in the playoffs). A contender like Arizona could use an upgrade at safety.
DE/DT JALYN HOLMES
The 2018 fourth-round pick could be a nice addition for a contender as depth on the defensive line, as he’s played both defensive end and tackle in the NFL. In 2020, Holmes has appeared in all six contests and has already set career bests in tackles (17), tackles for loss (2) and quarterback hits (2). Shipping off Holmes would also allow Minnesota to get more of a look at rookies James Lynch and D.J. Wonnum in the trenches.
CB MIKE HUGHES
Is it time to part ways with Hughes? The Vikings could dismiss their 2018 first-round pick and hit the refresh button in the secondary. Although Hughes has looked promising at times, he’s struggled to stay on the field, missing 10 games in 2018, two contests last season and already two (and counting) in 2020. Midway through the 2020 season, signing the cornerback to the fifth-year rookie option for 2022 seems doubtful, at best. Minnesota might as well get something in exchange. UPDATE: Hughes was placed on injured reserve Friday. Players put on IR and designated as having a minor injury can’t be traded.
LT RILEY REIFF
The cap-strapped Vikings need to free up some cheddar. Trading Reiff would do exactly that. Reiff is owed $8.2 million this year and $13.9 million in 2021 — the final season of his deal. One team that could be interested is the Dallas Cowboys, who lost left tackle Tyron Smith and right tackle La’el Collins to season-ending surgeries. Although both of those players are signed through the 2024 season, Reiff could fill in at tackle and either be cut next year ($2.2 million in dead cap space) or Collins could slide over to guard, where he played his first two NFL seasons. At 2-5, Dallas is still very much in the race to win the NFC East. Another potentially interested team is Tampa Bay, which could use some extra help protecting the 43-year-old Tom Brady.
TE KYLE RUDOLPH
Rudolph has been included in trade rumors for the past few offseasons, which is probably unfair to the 30-year-old veteran. But this time around, he might want to be traded. Rudolph is averaging a mere 2.3 targets and 1.6 receptions for 20.5 yards per contest in 2020. Cousins has looked his way just twice in the red zone. Rudolph can still be a game-changer in the end zone, shown once again by his highlight-reel grab against Tennessee in Week 3. On the Vikings side of things, they might want to dispose of Rudolph’s contract, as he’s inked through the 2023 season and is owed $9.4 million, $10.3 million and $11.7 million over the next three years.
Are you kidding, @KyleRudolph82??
WHAT A CATCH.
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2020
S HARRISON SMITH
If Minnesota wanted to fully take on a rebuild, moving on from Smith would be a solid first step. The five-time Pro Bowl safety is past his prime, but he could still boost a contender’s secondary. And there are a few good teams with bottom-10 pass defenses, including Cleveland (5-2), Seattle (5-1) and Tennessee (5-1). In 2020, Smith has registered 25 tackles (one for loss) with two quarterback hits, two passes defensed and one interception. He’ll become a free agent after the 2021 campaign.
DT SHAMAR STEPHEN
Minnesota wouldn’t get much for Stephen, maybe a late-round pick, but it’s better than nothing. The 29-year-old has tallied 15 tackles and two tackles for loss in six 2020 contests. He’s under contract through the 2021 campaign. Kansas City, which ranks 30th in the NFL against the run, could use some depth up the middle.
WR ADAM THIELEN
Don’t freak out. This is simply speculation. But if the Vikings want a big haul — both in draft picks and young talent, trading Thielen might be worth looking into. Thielen is signed through the 2024 campaign, meaning a team would get one of the NFL’s top receivers for the next 4+ years. Spielman likely wouldn’t ship the beloved Thielen out of town unless he got an offer that is too good to refuse. And with high-quality receivers like Jamison Crowder, A.J. Green and Will Fuller on the trade block with lower asking prices, dealing Thielen seems highly unlikely. Imagine watching the Vikings offense without Thielen, even with weapons Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson on the field. Yikes. But still, there’s no ruling it out. Things could get weird.