The Chicago Bears ended the unexpected free-fall of quarterback Justin Fields in the NFL Draft by trading up from 20 to 11 with the New York Giants, but what if they didn’t and he landed in Minnesota instead?
It was reported shortly after the draft that the Vikings were interested in drafting Fields if he was there at 14 when they originally picked before trading back to eventually grab tackle Christian Darrisaw. If Fields would’ve made it would this entire draft class look different? I only ask because the trade back wouldn’t have happened so I figured we should take a look at what both classes would have been had we traded up and see what would’ve made sense for the team in hindsight.
What Would It Have Taken to Trade Up for Fields?
Now we mentioned the trade-up the Bears did from 20 to 11 and in doing so they gave up the additional first-round and fourth-round picks in next year’s draft as well as a fifth this year. Obviously, if the Vikings traded up they wouldn’t need to give up near as much, swapping firsts while also throwing in a fourth this year (134) and a second next year would probably get it done.
Now, would Rick Spielman give up that much given his track record of hoarding picks? Maybe, maybe not.
The point to keep in mind is when it comes to getting a franchise quarterback, something I don’t think they have in Kirk Cousins at this point, it is sometimes worth overpaying. Cousins long term is not the answer that is clear but he would have presented a perfect opportunity for Fields and the Vikings.
Everyone wants to emulate the Alex Smith to Pat Mahomes transition and I think this would have been the best example to date with Cousins and Fields.
What Would the Class Look Like After a Trade Up?
As we move on with the idea in mind though I do think it’s important to look at what the draft class would’ve looked like without the trade back with the Jets. The picks we gained in that trade back were the 23rd, 66th, and 86th overall picks, and those picks were three critical selections that resulted in two plug-and-play starters and then Kellen Mond.
If the Vikings traded up they wouldn’t have Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis on the offensive line, which would’ve made Cousins and Fields’ job a little tougher, but the Mond pick would be indifferent because of having Fields though.
The class as a whole would looked like this:
- 11th: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- 78th: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
- 90th: Patrick Jones, Edge, Pitt
- 119th: Kene Nwangu, RB, Iowa
- 125th: Cam Bynum, CB, California
- 157th: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
- 168th: Zach Davidson, TE/P, Central Missouri
- 199th: Jaylen Twyman, DL, Pitt
Now upon looking at that you may say “what is actually different?” and the answer is simple, not much. All that is missing though is a starting tackle and a starting guard that upon being missing from the class makes Justin Fields and Kirk Cousins jobs that much harder immensely.
Long Term with Fields vs. Short Term with Mond
Long-term taking Fields made the most sense, especially in a division that was beginning to look like an open race with Aaron Rodgers potentially leaving.
Obviously, Fields going to the Bears changes things in a crazy way but if the Vikings grabbed Fields then the rest of the division would potentially looking at Drew Lock or Jordan Love, Jared Goff, and Andy Dalton now let that sink in for a minute huh?
The Vikings would have an offensive trio of Justin Fields, Dalvin Cook, and Justin Jefferson, dare I say that no other team in the league would have a better young nucleus on offense, instead, we have the same offensive corps that went 7-9.
Short term the fallout would be on the offensive line which was a glaring hole on the team entering the draft. This upcoming tackle class is very talented at the top as well as the interior so it’s something that could have been addressed then so the offense would still end up okay.
The Vikings short-term issue though may end up being a long-term one unless the aforementioned Mond pick turns into something we aren’t expecting. Mond does everything well that Cousins doesn’t, that’s a horse that’s been fed time and again, but it’s the processing and decision making that may hold Mond back the most in the NFL. If the Vikings put him in a position to succeed then maybe we can forget about missing out on Fields but for now, that wound is not healing anytime soon.
Which Outcome Should We Prefer?
I am going to be in the minority here probably but give me the offensive line corps of Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis to fill the holes on the line versus getting Justin Fields and here is why.
The long-term impact of the offensive line being solidified cannot be overstated, a prime example is what happened to the Chiefs this past year in the Super Bowl. When the Chiefs lost Eric Fisher to his Achilles injury the entire line looked different and they couldn’t protect Mahomes in the Super Bowl, Cousins isn’t Mahomes but without protection, he is going to look as bad as he did in the Super Bowl.
Cousins isn’t the long-term solution at quarterback either but each quarterback class is getting more and more pro-ready and even next year’s class is worth monitoring if they do decide they want to invest high draft capital to compete against Kellen Mond.
The bottom line is if I am the Vikings I am very happy with the haul you have versus what you would have had to give up to get Justin Fields based on the current build of the roster overall.