The first three weeks of training camp have illuminated a couple key areas of weakness on the Vikings' roster, both of them on the offensive side of the ball. They could use a starting-caliber center, considering Garrett Bradbury has continued to struggle and backups Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann don't inspire much confidence. And they could use a capable backup quarterback, given what we've seen from Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion.
According to reports, the Vikings seem to be aware of both roster holes and might be considering adding external help at one or both spots in the future.
"My understanding is that internally they are very open to the possibility that the backup quarterback isn’t on the roster," Seifert said, via Sean Borman. There are two factors there; how do these guys (Mond and Mannion) perform and who’s potentially available."
There are two avenues to acquire players. They could look to free agency and use some of their estimated $10 million in salary cap space, but the cupboard is fairly bare at quarterback. Some of the notable free agent QBs include Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, A.J. McCarron, and Garrett Gilbert, along with young players like Anthony Gordon and D'Eriq King.
Trading a draft pick for a quarterback might be a better option if the Vikings don't wait to wait until rosters are cut down at the end of the month.
Could they trade for Cardinals backup Colt McCoy, who Kevin O'Connell worked with in Washington? I'd imagine the Bills don't want to give up Case Keenum. The Jets' Mike White, the Commanders' Taylor Heinicke, and the Ravens' Tyler Huntley are a few other high-level backups who may or may not be gettable at the right price.
What about PJ Walker, who is buried behind Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Matt Corral in Carolina? Former Vikings QBs Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning are out there. Josh Rosen? C.J. Beathard? Nick Mullens? Skylar Thompson?
Kirk Cousins has been incredible durable during his career, and the Vikings are obviously screwed if he suffers a serious injury. The goal of acquiring a different backup QB would be to find someone who can play better than Mond and Mannion — someone who can give the Vikings a chance if Cousins has to miss a single game or a handful of games. Adofo-Mensah has to weigh the importance of shoring up that spot versus the cost of doing so.
As for the center position, it's less clear what the options might be. J.C. Tretter is the big-name free agent, but the health of his knees is undoubtedly a major, major question mark at this point. There's no other reason for him to still be without a team. Matt Paradis is another free agent with a bunch of starting experience, but his pass blocking has fallen off a bit over the past few years.
According to KSTP's Darren Wolfson, the Vikings are considering the option of trading for a center.
"I think internally, they are absolutely looking at alternatives, although I don't sense there's any free agency steam," Wolfson said on SKOR North. "I just haven't heard J.C. Tretter steam. But ... there are centers in other team's camps. Trade dialogue is active right now. It'll pick up in the next 7 to 10 to 14 days. My sense is the Vikings are at least exploring the possibility of trading for a center, someone that's on a roster right now. I would look more at AFC teams compared to NFC teams."
I'm not going to speculate on any AFC centers who might be trade options for the Vikings because that seems like a pointless exercise, but it's notable that this is something they're reportedly considering.
No matter how it happens, the Vikings could fill a couple holes and improve their offensive outlook for the season by adding a backup quarterback and a center in the next couple weeks. Whether or not it happens will come down to availability, cost, and how players like Bradbury, Reed, Mond, and Mannion perform in upcoming practices and preseason games.
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