Vikings fulfill Trey Lance destiny in ESPN's three-team trade idea

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5)
September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rumblings leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft continue to link the Minnesota Vikings with a potential blockbuster trade for Trey Lance.

The former No. 3 overall pick has fallen out of favor in San Francisco, with Brock Purdy considered the favorite to win the supposed QB competition involving Lance and free agent pickup Sam Darnold. That's no surprise after Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft, helped lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.

Kirk Cousins' name largely hasn't been mentioned in talks, but some analysts believe it's possible the veteran heads to San Fran in any trade involving Lance.

As much as some Vikings fans would offer to drive Cousins to the airport in that scenario, it's unlikely for a multitude of reasons -- none more important than the cap constraints between the two teams.

That begs the question of what it would take for Minnesota to pluck Lance from their NFC rivals before or on draft night? ESPN's Bill Barnwell gave his best shot and came up with a three-team deal involving the Eagles.

Vikings acquire Trey Lance from 49ers in ESPN three-team trade idea involving the Eagles

In this scenario, the Vikings would send the No. 23 overall pick and backup QB Nick Mullens to the 49ers and a 2025 fourth-round pick to the Eagles. Philly, meanwhile, plays the role of facilitator by offloading a second-round pick (No. 63 overall) and receiving two third-round picks in addition to the 2025 fourth-rounder.

Not every analyst-proposed trade is a win-win-win for every team. We'd venture to say that it's a rarity that happens. Barnwell's idea, though seemingly isn't leaking any oil.

While the 49ers part with their top three selections in the draft -- the consequence of trading for Lance and Christian McCaffrey -- nabbing the No. 21 pick is a fair swap. San Francisco's roster is readymade to compete for a Super Bowl, so they're not starving for draft equity. That first rounder likely would mean the world to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.

From the Vikings side of things, they get Lance for essentially the 39th pick, which is fair value considering how little we've seen of him in his first two years. Rather than go without a first- and second-round pick in the 2023 draft, Minnesota parts with two thirds and a future fourth to move up to the 63rd pick.

It's a lot of draft capital for the Vikings to give up, but it's hardly a steep price to pay for a potential franchise quarterback. Perhaps the 49ers miscalculated by trading three firsts for the rights to Lance, but he shouldn't be written off as an NFL quarterback because of a freak injury in year two after he sat behind a vet as a rookie.

That doesn't mean it wouldn't be a gamble on Minnesota's part, but it's one worth taking given the team has plateau'd under Cousins.

Next. 15 biggest Vikings draft busts of all-time. dark