The NFL trade deadline is officially two days away at the time this article is being posted. With that, rumors aplenty have been circulating the NFL for weeks, and the Vikings find themselves smack dab in the middle of them all.
After a surprising 5-1 start to the season, it’s likely that the Vikings want to make a move to improve their roster heading into a push for the playoffs. However, Sunday’s game could go a long way towards determining if the Vikings actually make a trade or not. Here are three players whose performances against the Cardinals could be deciding factors in Minnesota’s final decision.
It’s been a rather slow start to the 2022 season by Adam Thielen’s standards. Perhaps it’s simply because the Vikings are prioritizing Justin Jefferson, but it’s entirely possible that the 32-year-old receiver is starting to slow down as the twilight of his career approaches.
Obviously, Thielen won’t be going anywhere at the trade deadline due to his prowess in the red zone. However, hints continue to drop that the Vikings are not content with their current wide receiver room, and they want to add another dynamic target opposite of Jefferson to spread the field.
Thielen could put these trade rumors to rest with a 100+ yard performance on Sunday. A touchdown or two wouldn’t hurt his cause, either. That said, with how steady this Cardinals defense has been to start the 2022 season, that could be a tall task to ask.
Patrick Peterson has turned back the clock in 2022 with some spectacular games, and Cam Dantzler continues to develop into a player that looks like a future CB1. However, slot receivers have torched the Vikings this year, and part of that responsibility lies with Chandon Sullivan.
The veteran free agent acquisition has allowed an opponent passer rating of 130.2 so far this season, and overall, Minnesota has the lowest graded group of CBs in the slot, per PFF.
There are a number of potential targets for the slot cornerback spot in the trade market. The Arizona Cardinals will use both DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore in the slot throughout Sunday afternoon, so we could see Sullivan get tons of work against Arizona. We’ll see if he steps up to the test.
One of the key acquisitions for the Vikings defense this offseason was off-ball linebacker Jordan Hicks to join Eric Kendricks in the new 3-4 lineup. To this point, Hicks has had some very up-and-down moments throughout the year.
Hicks is the lead tackler for the Vikings defense and has a pair of sacks so far this year. However, there have been multiple moments where he’s looked a step slow in pass coverage. If Kyler Murray torches Minnesota’s defense for short and intermediate passing gains, perhaps the Vikings make a move to bring in some more linebacker talent for those passing downs.
Even if the Vikings don’t make a trade at this position, Ed Donatell himself has said that rookie Brian Asamoah’s role is growing on this defense. This could be a situation worth monitoring heading into Sunday afternoon.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.