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The annual NFL carousel is alive and well, and these men could find new teams in the next two months: Derek Carr (Raiders), Sam Darnold (Panthers), Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers), Trey Lance (49ers), Jordan Love (Packers), Baker Mayfield (Rams), and Aaron Rodgers (Packers).
But the almighty prize — assuming he doesn’t “hit a wall” at age 46 — might be free-agent quarterback and the greatest passer of all time, Tom Brady.
Anonymous NFL Exec Claims Vikings Could Land the GOAT
Brady is scheduled to become an honest-to-goodness free agent in March, perhaps embarking on his 24th NFL season. After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wildcard Round of the playoffs, Brady was uncertain about his future and remains mum about next steps.
And in a first-of-its-kind situation, there may be a realistic chance for the Minnesota Vikings to land Brady, a theory that has never gained traction until now.
Via NFL Analysis Network, Kenneth Teape mentioned the Vikings on Tuesday as an outsider to land Brady in free agency. He wrote, “Improving on that side of the ball will certainly help their long-term outlook, but a former NFL executive that spoke to NFL Analysis Network believes a quarterback change is what would put them over the top. The executive suggested Minnesota as a dark horse landing spot for free agent, Tom Brady.”
The anonymous executive allegedly elaborated about Brady and the Vikings, “I know the Raiders and Dolphins are the two most talked about. The 49ers are another possible destination, but they have Brock Purdy now. Watch out for the Vikings. Replacing Kirk Cousins with Brady would make them an actual legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl.”
The Vikings are contractually committed to current QB1 Kirk Cousins for at least one more season. The soon-to-be 35-year-old also has a no-trade clause, a perk for Cousins slapped onto last year’s extension. Finding a dance partner of Cousins’ choosing could be tricky, but if there’s a will, there’s a way, especially if the Vikings are genuinely interested in Brady.
“Brady would certainly be a splash acquisition for the Vikings, and he would thrive in this offense. Any quarterback would find success throwing passes to Justin Jefferson with complementary players in Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, and tight end T.J. Hockenson,” Teape opined.
The theory would probably suggest trading Cousins to a team of his liking — perhaps the New York Jets, New England Patriots, or aforementioned Buccaneers — while gaining an undetermined draft pick(s) for the swap. Then, the Vikings could use their organic 23rd overall draft pick in April, plus the fruit of the hypothetical Cousins trade, and select a young quarterback in Round 1 or 2 to learn behind Brady for a year or two.
The only snags for the Brady-to-Vikings hypothesis are the offensive line and defense. Brady and the Buccaneers thrived in 2020 and 2021 thanks to a gangbusters offensive line and hungry defense that propelled Brady to a seventh Super Bowl triumph. Minnesota’s offensive line indeed improved in 2022 — it has two franchise cornerstone offensive tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill — but it is unclear if the Vikings OL fivesome would appeal to Brady.
The Vikings defense also struggled ad nauseam in 2022, ranking 27th in the NFL via defensive DVOA. That doesn’t really sound like a blueprint for Brady’s arrival unless Minnesota fundamentally fixes the defense in a single offseason.
Finally, Brady could retire, too. Playing at age 46 isn’t a foregone conclusion, and the world is on Brady Watch. Last year, Brady retired for about six weeks but reversed course by returning to the Buccaneers. He’s nearing the end, no matter what.
Brady and Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell were teammates in 2008 and in the summer of 2009 with the Patriots. Per a mashup of advanced quarterback rankings, Brady ranked as the league’s 12th-best quarterback in 2022.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).