Will the Vikings regret not pursuing Trey Lance in 2021 NFL Draft?

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Trey Lance
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Trey Lance /

Why didn’t the Minnesota Vikings make a bigger effort to select current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Three hours away from where he grew up in Marshall, Minnesota, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance took part in a pair of joint practices against the Minnesota Vikings earlier this week.

In just his second year in the NFL, Lance is expected to open the 2022 regular season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers. San Francisco is hopeful that he will be able to help them return to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2013.

At 22-years-old, Lance’s future in the league is full of potential, and the 49ers clearly knew this when they used the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select him.

Did the Minnesota Vikings ever have any interest in drafting San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance?

Following the conclusion of the 2020 season, Minnesota’s finish resulted in them earning the No. 14 selection in the 2021 draft.

With Kirk Cousins getting older and the Vikings not experiencing a ton of success with him starting under center, some wondered if Minnesota would use their first-round pick in the 2021 draft on a quarterback.

If the Vikings truly wanted to draft a new signal-caller in 2021, trading up in the draft was something that was likely going to be required. Former Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman never shied away from a trade during his tenure with the team. But how much would he be willing to give up in order to land a draft pick that could allow the Vikings to select their quarterback of the future?

We knew Minnesota had interest in some of the young passers that were available in the 2021 draft class, including Lance and Justin Fields. But was the interest high enough in any of the quarterback prospects for Spielman to do whatever he had to do to move up in the draft?

As the Vikings took their time to decide if there was a franchise signal-caller worth trading up for in the 2021 draft, the 49ers didn’t need anyone to convince them that there was a quarterback prospect available in the class who could potentially lead their franchise for the next decade.

San Francisco completed a trade with the Miami Dolphins that resulted in the 49ers acquiring the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft in exchange for five draft selections, including first-round picks in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

A few weeks later, San Francisco used their newly acquired selection to draft Lance. Minnesota, meanwhile, made a minimal effort to move up in the draft to see if they could land Fields, and instead, they traded back in the first round and eventually wound up with former Virginia Tech left tackle Christian Darrisaw.

When we look back in five years, will we criticize the Vikings for not making a greater effort to draft the dynamic young quarterback who grew up in the state of Minnesota? Or will we praise the Vikings for not risking a significant amount of draft capital on a signal-caller who also has the potential to end up as a gigantic bust?

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