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Patriots Draft Asset: No. 3 Pick Value Increase After Vikings Trade?

With the Minnesota Vikings having acquired an additional first-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft, might the New England Patriots No. 3 selection be next in their sights?

FOXBORO — Has the value of the New England Patriots most desirable commodity actually increased within the past 24 hours? 

The Minnesota Vikings on Friday completed a trade with the Houston Texans to acquire the No. 23 selection in the upcoming NFL Draft (plus a seventh-rounder) in return for second-round picks in 2024 and 2025, and another sixth-rounder this season.

On its face, the trade has no connection to the Patriots, who currently hold the No. 3 selection as their crown jewel of their Draft class. 

Patriots NFL Draft

However, the move now arms the Vikings with two first-round selections — their newly-acquired No. 23 joining the No. 11 selection it earned through their 7-10 record last season. Having lost starting quarterback Kirk Cousins to a lucrative free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings are reportedly looking to add a potential “QB1” talent to their positional depth chart via the draft. 

Could the Vikings parlay those two picks into a “top four” selection in April?

Perhaps the most poignant question as it relates to New England is: Will the Vikings attempt to pry away the Pats’ No. 3 pick?

Like Minnesota, the Pats are assumedly taking a strong look at the quarterback position with their No. 3 overall selection. As a result, New England has been linked to top positional options such as USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. The team has also reportedly eyed Oregon’s Bo Nix and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

In the wake of trading 2023 opening day starter — and former first-rounder — Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this week, the Pats current quarterback room consists of Bailey Zappe, Nathan Rourke and newly-signed Jacoby Brissett, who is back for his second tour of duty in Foxboro. 

If the Patriots stand pat with the third choice, they would be assured of selecting one member of the aforementioned trio of Williams, Maye or Daniels. Facing the prospect of fielding a depth chart consisting of Sam Darnold, Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall, the Vikings would undoubtedly love to be in the Pats position. In fact, multiple outlets have speculated that Minnesota will contact New England in the near future. 

Though the Patriots may be tempted to maximize the value of their highly-coveted asset, they must determine whether they are committed to taking “option 3,” if both the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders select a quarterback with the No. 1 and 2 picks respectively. 

Minnesota’s eagerness to trade up seemingly indicates their confidence of drafting any of the previously mentioned prospects as a franchise quarterback. Should the Patriots share their assessment, they may be better served by retaining their pick and making their selection as expected.  

Conversely, if New England is not convinced of selecting the “right guy,” they hold a significant amount of leverage in the process. Not only would the Vikings two 2024 first-rounders be in in the discussion, but the Pats could also proposition subsequent prime draft capital. In a similar circumstance in 2021, the Miami Dolphins were able to secure first-round picks in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2022 from the San Francisco 49ers in their bid to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. 

Though the future has yet to be written, the coming days and weeks are about to get pretty interesting for the Patriots.