A Vikings-Chargers draft trade that would help everyone, even the Cardinals

The Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers are natural trade partners.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The general expectation is that the first three picks in April's NFL Draft will be used on quarterbacks. There is some lingering uncertainty about which quarterbacks exactly, but we can safely assume that Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and J.J. McCarthy are all in the mix.

One of those QBs will invariably fall outside the top-3 due to simple mathematics. From there, we can expect a ton of jockeying between interested parties. Several teams need QB help — Las Vegas, New York (Giants), Denver, Minnesota — so we can essentially pencil in a trade-up. It's going to happen. What we don't know is which team will strike.

The natural focus of many trade-up proposals has been the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4. Arizona already has its QB, so there's no need to draft one. That said, the consensus top prospect on most boards is WR Marvin Harrison Jr., and the Cards do need a wideout to help their QB. There is little incentive for Arizona to move back and risk losing out on a generational prospect at a position of need.

A far more logical trade-back candidate would be the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 5, as Jim Harbaugh's team is also equipped with a franchise QB by the name of Justin Herbert. The Chargers won't need to draft a QB, and there's a decent chance Marvin Harrison is off the board assuming Arizona stays put. So, why not move back, accumulate assets, and spread your wealth around Herbert? The Chargers have more than one hole to fill.

Of all the teams in need of QB help, the Minnesota Vikings probably need it the most. Kirk Cousins' absence will be deeply felt, and while Sam Darnold should be comfortable in Kevin O'Connell's scheme, we have not see anything to indicate that he is a viable long-term starter in the NFL. Minnesota would be foolish not to give him real competition in camp.

So, let's cook up a trade that makes sense for Los Angeles and Minnesota, without removing Arizona from their comfortable perch in the No. 4 slot.

Vikings-Chargers trade centered on No. 5 pick in 2024 NFL Draft


The Vikings can rest assured that Arizona won't draft a QB. There would need to be assurance that Arizona won't turn around and trade the No. 4 pick — this is a last-second draft night trade by design — but, in the end, this deal should benefit both sides.

Los Angeles desperately needs to add WR talent after trading Keenan Allen and letting Mike Williams walk. Harbaugh and Greg Roman love to run the football, but they would be hard-pressed to back Justin Herbert into a corner. This ain't Michigan. The Chargers need to stock up on playmaking talent, and fast, if the goal is to contend with Harbaugh on the sideline. And that should be the goal.

The Chargers should be able to target a quality WR prospect at No. 11, such as Brian Thomas Jr., Adonai Mitchell or Xavier Worthy. We can even toss tight end Brock Bowers in the mix. Those prospects could be available at No. 23, too. Los Angeles essentially bows out of the Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze sweepstakes, but in the NFL, two first-round hits are better than one. Los Angeles shouldn't be opposed to multiple bites at the apple.

As for Minnesota, this is a rather simple — if expensive, in terms of draft capital — way to acquire their next QB. Kirk Cousins supplied one of the most accurate and reliable arms in the NFL, so no rookie can immediately replace him. That said, the Vikings have one of the league's most QB-friendly schemes, complete with two elite pass-catchers in Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson. Any rookie QB that lands in Minnesota will be primed for success. Just pray for the poor soul that ends up in New England.

This trade should satisfy all sides. Los Angeles can burn two first-round picks, one on receiver and one on some defensive reinforcements (ideally). The Vikings get their QB of the future, and the Cards sit tight and select Marvin Harrison Jr., the obvious course of action for a team lacking on the WR front. It's a true win-win-win as long as the front offices don't fumble their draft picks.

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