In his “Some Vikings Plan B Quarterback Options” post, ESPN.com’s Ben Goessling speculates on the Vikes potentially dealing a third round pick to the Patriots for Ryan Mallett:
This could be a legitimate possibility for the Vikings, especially since they have an extra third-round pick, though it’s difficult to know if any of the young starters-in-waiting they might be able to get would be any more reliable than a young draft pick. Kirk Cousins struggled when the Redskins turned to him late last year, and Ryan Mallett has only thrown four passes in the NFL. The Vikings would have had a chance to evaluate Mallett before the 2011 draft, when they took Christian Ponder, though three years learning behind Tom Brady can do wonders for a player’s stock (it certainly helped Cassel when he got his chance to prove himself in 2008). Mallett and Adrian Peterson have a friendly relationship through a mutual coaching connection, and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has done a number of deals with the Patriots. If the Patriots were open to moving him, it’s possible the Vikings could take a look.
The words “trade a third round pick to New England” bring back bad memories, but let’s move beyond that and consider this trade possibility with an open, non-Childress-tainted mind. Does Ryan Mallett do it for you as a quarterback option?
Let’s look at it this way: Would trading a third round pick for Mallett be better than drafting a quarterback in the third round?
I think the answer to that question is a clear yes. I would rather trade a pick for Mallett than draft Zach Mettenberger or Aaron Murray.
Would I rather take a gamble on Mallett than roll the dice on another possible trade option, Redskins backup Kirk Cousins?
That’s hard to judge. Cousins has played more but he’s also failed more, which is bound to make one slightly more reluctant. Mallett has the advantage of never having gotten his butt handed to him in the pros, so it’s easier to delude oneself that he is the elusive “answer at quarterback.”
Also, Mallett has the Patriots factor behind him. A little bit of the Belichick/Brady mystique has rubbed off on him, the same way it rubbed off on Matt Cassel. The only thing that rubbed off on Cousins from his time with the Shanahans is the stain of mediocrity.
Ideally, I think the Vikings would like to draft one of those top QBs, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles or maybe even Johnny Manziel, though Manziel looks like less of a fit in a Norv Turner offense. The problem is, you’d have to trade up to get one of those guys, most likely.
Derek Carr might be somewhat less attractive as a #8 overall pick, but I’d take him lower down if a trade could be pulled off.
So, to briefly recap, here’s how I would rank these options based on attractiveness:
1. Draft one of the top 3 QB prospects (contingent on trade up)
2. Trade down a little and draft Derek Carr
3. Trade a third round pick for Ryan Mallett or Kirk Cousins
4. Use a third round pick or lower on one of the second-tier QB prospects
1,944,221. Bring back Christian Ponder and make him the starter
The other possibility I haven’t raised is this one: Bring back Matt Cassel on a two-year bridge QB deal and draft a developmental QB, someone with a high ceiling who is considered very raw. That, frankly, is where I would predict the Vikings will go, if I were forced to make a prediction.
That option is not all that attractive, but it is practical.