The Minnesota Vikings' offseason has been eventful. Kirk Cousins walked in free agency to sign with the Atlanta Falcons, but Minnesota was able to replace him. JJ McCarthy fell into their laps in the first round and they were able to move up to snag Dallas Turner too. But those moves left them without some valuable draft capital in next year's draft. The Vikings could stand to get some back during training camp by making some trades, with Sam Darnold, Robert Tonyan, and Jalen Nailor looking like potential candidates to get dealt.

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QB battle brewing

JJ McCarthy wasn't the only quarterback addition Minnesota made this offseason. They also signed Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million deal early in free agency after Cousins' departure. Minnesota did so for a few reasons. One was to give them flexibility and a viable starting option in the event they weren't able to draft a rookie. Another was to have a bridge quarterback in the event they did.

The Vikings' plan at the moment is for Darnold to begin the regular season as the starter. That makes sense. Minnesota doesn't have to throw McCarthy in the fire if he isn't ready and Darnold has plenty of experience under his belt. He also was solid as a starter in his last season with the Carolina Panthers. Darnold has been one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the NFL since 2022, albeit in only seven starts.

While McCarthy is indisputably the quarterback of the future for the Vikings, it makes sense for Darnold to be the man for the present. But what if McCarthy is ready to play now? That is certainly within the range of outcomes if he impresses the Vikings coaching staff in training camp. He played in a pro-style offense in college and had a ton of success.

If McCarthy does win the starting job in camp, that could make Darnold a trade candidate. If a team suffers an unfortunate injury in training camp, the Vikings could trade Darnold and reap the benefits. This is another reason to monitor this quarterback battle before the season kicks off.

A tight-end conundrum

Minnesota's tight-end room is in a strange place in 2024. TJ Hockenson is one of the better players at the position but he tore his ACL on Christmas Eve last season. It's highly unlikely that he will be available for the start of the season.

Fortunately, the Vikings have a lot of options in that position. They signed Josh Oliver to a three-year $21 million deal last offseason and retained Johnny Mundt this offseason. Those two are primarily blocking tight ends but that archetype is important for head coach Kevin O'Connell's system.

Minnesota does have a couple of pass catchers at that position who could hold the fort down while Hockenson rehabs. One option is N'Keal Harry, who hasn't done anything in the NFL since getting drafted as a first-round receiver. He is being converted to tight end, which could maybe unlock the talent that made him such a coveted prospect in 2019.

The other is Robert Tonyan. Tonyan made a name for himself in Green Bay after catching 11 touchdowns in 2020. But, he has just six scores in his other five seasons in the NFL. He's coming off a disappointing season with Chicago (11 receptions for 112 yards) but he has a past of being a threat as a receiver.

However, the same logic with Darnold could apply to Tonyan about a trade. If Harry impresses in his conversion to wide receiver and/or a team suffers an injury to their starting tight end, Tonyan could become a trade candidate for the Vikings. Adding draft capital is always good business for a team. Maybe Minnesota can do so with Tonyan.

A speedy deep threat

Another way Minnesota can accrue more draft picks could be to trade Jalen Nailor. Nailor was a sixth-round pick in 2022 after a stellar career with Michigan State but hasn't gotten much playing time in the NFL. He has just 12 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown in 21 career games despite having legit speed and athleticism to stretch the field.

Minnesota has a crowded receiver room though which could make keeping him tricky. The Vikings could get a draft pick for him in a trade at the end of training camp if it looks like he won't make the team. It's an option worth exploring. Nailor is another trade candidate for the Vikings.