Kevin O

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings


Head coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings’ interest in the 2024 quarterback class has sparked discussions about their best path forward. A blockbuster trade up in the draft or sticking with free agent signee Sam Darnold have been the most common options explored.

But a third option remains: trading for an established quarterback.

SB Nation’s James Dator suggests a hypothetical trade package to land one-time Pro Bowler and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert:

“The No. 5 pick feels like a pivot point in the class,” Dator wrote on April 2.

“Up to this point the assumption has been that Minnesota would pick Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy to be their guy, if it holds that Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are off the board. However, let’s assume for a second that there’s chaos in the NFL Draft. More aptly, let’s assume Jim Harbaugh chooses chaos.”

Vikings get:

– Justin Herbert

Chargers get:

– Jordan Addison
– 2024 first-round pick (No. 11 overall)
– 2024 first-round pick (No. 23 overall)
– 2025 first-round pick

Chargers Re-Tool Sparking Trade Speculation

Justin Herbert, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJustin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Datore works off the idea that Harbaugh could prefer to reset with his former protege, McCarthy, to whom the Vikings have been heavily linked.

And rather than risk a critical season on a rookie, Dator suggests a trade for the Vikings.

“This is one of those ideas that seems utterly preposterous, and then you keep thinking about it, only to find it making more and more sense,” Dator wrote about the idea of the Chargers trading Herbert. “Simply put: They’re not winning.”

The Chargers went 5-12 last season and were 5-8 with Herbert, who missed the final four games following surgery on his index finger.

Los Angeles also let its top three playmakers go either in free agency or trade this offseason.

Herbert finished this past season with 3,134 yards and 20 touchdowns on 65.1% completion – all career-low marks – with seven interceptions. He is still one year away from starting his five-year, $262.5 million contract.

The No. 6 overall pick of the 2020 draft, Herbert’s 17,223 passing yards is the most in NFL history through a player’s first four seasons, per Stathead.

His 114 career touchdown passes rank second behind only Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

The Chargers would have to absorb up to an unsightly $129.5 million dead cap hit in 2024. That aside – which would put the kibosh on such talks if they even picked up the phone in the first place – the Vikings would have to weigh their options.

Justin Jefferson’s Presence Fueling Vikings Trade Speculation

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJustin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Dator called keeping Justin Jefferson happy a “paramount concern”. The Vikings would seem to agree, expressing their interest in locking in the four-time Pro Bowler on a long-term contract.

Jefferson has remained confident in his ability to perform regardless of who is under center. And, as Datore points out, losing Addison like in this hypothetical deal would sting. But not having the guy at quarterback could prove even more costly.

“Minnesota is locked in draft purgatory where they’re unable to find a bonafide franchise quarterback, and too good to salt the earth and demolish everything. The Vikings offense is built around elite quarterback play — which necessitates getting a serious talent at the position and not taking a risk,” Datore wrote.

“The Vikings are also on a clock. As it stands they have the best receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, and nobody to throw him the ball. Even if they settled for someone like a J.J. McCarthy in the draft, there’s no guarantee he’d be able to maximize Jefferson’s potential.”

Herbert, 26, is a proven commodity; something the Vikings don’t have at the position.

He would also arrive four years younger than Kirk Cousins was when he signed with the Vikings in free agency in 2018.

Josh Buckhalter covers the NBA and NFL for with a focus on the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. He has covered the NBA and NFL since 2016, including bylines at FanSided, Last Word on Sports and Clocker Sports. He’s based in Villa Park, Illinois. Follow Josh on Twitter and Instagram: @JoshGBuck More about Josh Buckhalter

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