5 players the Vikings could realistically trade after 0-3 start

The Minnesota Vikings starting the season at 0-3 is the worst possible scenario. It’s especially bad when you consider that the Vikings have been in a position to potentially win all three games.

There are some fans and analysts who are going to say that the Vikings should tank for a top pick to select a quarterback.

Here’s the thing, that won’t happen and it won’t ever under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He doesn’t believe in a full-on tank.

What we don’t know is how he will handle a situation where the season is going poorly. Is Adofo-Mensah going to be comfortable enough to sell off pieces that won’t be here long-term to build up draft capital? That is the big question.

If he does, we need to eliminate the likes of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter. They both have no-trade clauses and could have futures with the team after this season.

With how the Vikings could potentially approach the trade deadline, it’s likely going to be players who are in the final year of their deal or likely won’t be returning next season.

If they continue to spiral and aren’t in a position to make the playoffs at the trade deadline, here are five players that could be moved by the Vikings. The salaries listed are what each player is set to make for the season and the savings would be prorated based on how many games are left when the player gets traded.

S Harrison Smith

Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP
Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP

Dead cap: $3,915,882
Potential cap savings: $7,911,765

Harrison Smith is the first guy that would be a likely trade candidate. Smith doesn’t seem likely that he returns to the team, especially after he was asked to take a paycut this season. He is 32 years old and still playing at a high level. He could come into your defense and make an impact right away.

The compensation you could get from him would vary on the interest and need from competitive teams across the league, but a third-round pick feels about right.

WR K.J. Osborn

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Dead cap: $66,943
Potential cap savings: $2,743,000

There is going to be a theme with the potential players on the trade block for the Vikings. That theme is players that aren’t likely to return next season. Despite his performance and hard work for the franchise since he joined the Vikings out of the 2020 NFL draft, Osborn will be priced out of Minnesota. Getting some compensation back for him now could be what the Vikings choose to pursue.

Osborn likely doesn’t fetch much, but a fourth isn’t out of the question, likely a mid-late day three pick.

ILB Jordan Hicks

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Dead cap: $1,500,000
Potential cap savings: $3,500,000

Hicks is 31 years old and likely at the end of his journey as a starting linebacker. His skillset is very old school run stuffing thumper and while it’s needed in the league, it’s not prioritized. He likely could catch a late third round pick for a team that needs that skillset on their roster.

OLB D.J. Wonnum

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Dead cap: $187,695
Potential cap savings: $2,743,000

The edge position is one where teams are always looking for depth. Wonnum was been fine as an edge defender, but is much-better suited for a 4-3 defense. That could be facilitated with a trade at the deadline. Wonnum won’t be back next season unless he is back on a veteran minimum contract. His price could be up to a fourth-round pick, with a mid-late day three pick the most likely.

LG Ezra Cleveland

AP Photo/Jim Mone
AP Photo/Jim Mone

Dead cap: $396,766
Potential cap savings: $2,993,000

Would the Vikings actually be willing to trade one of their offensive linemen with how the unit has played? Well, with Cleveland highly unlikely to stay with the Vikings next season and his alleged desire to play tackle makes it easier to move on before he can leave.

Offensive line trades could be anything when it comes to compensation. He could fetch up to a third in the right situation, but likely fetches some sort of day three package.

The Real Forno Show

[lawrence-related id=83551,83508,83535,83514,83507,83486,83500]

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire