The NFL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and while the Minnesota Vikings sit atop the NFC North in the middle of their bye week, there are still some places that they could look to improve on their roster in hopes of helping them go deep into the playoffs. When looking at possible trade candidates, I tried to find teams with players on expiring contracts or with manageable contracts under team control. From there, I came up with three players who I feel could make an impact on our favorite team.
CB CJ Henderson, Panthers
It’s no secret that the Vikings’ corner back room could use some more help. They signed CB Chandon Sullivan away from the division rival Packers this offseason in the hopes of bolstering their nickel corner spot, but Sullivan has been more of a liability in coverage than an asset through six games. So why CJ Henderson? Henderson has had a weird start to his career. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars ninth overall in the 2020 draft, but just last season was traded to the Panthers. Well, now the Panthers just fired their Head Coach, Matt Rhule, and they appear to be sellers at the deadline.
A trade for Henderson wouldn’t be splashy, but what you’d be getting is a physical corner with some speed and potential who could replace Chandon Sullivan. Additionally, he’s under team control for another season, with the potential for a 5th-year option.
I've been talking a lot about challenging yourself as a CB.— BIG CROCKY (@eric_crocker) September 23, 2020
Rookie CJ Henderson. Off man. He's not getting out of there. Patient feet. Go ahead and eat up the cushion. He knows he can turn and run. Make the receiver work to beat you. Takes confidence but this is great stuff. pic.twitter.com/OLFSNoWAKY
EDGE Yannick Ngaukoe, Colts
Does this name look familiar? Well, it should. The Vikings acquired Ngaukoe back in 2020 for a 2nd round draft pick, but then traded him to the Baltimore Ravens only a month into the season. Ngaukoe has since then played for the Raiders and now the Colts. The AFC South is wide open, so it may not make a whole lot of sense for the Colts to move him if they believe they have a chance to compete in the division. With a trade for Ngaukoe, though, it’d be as win now as you could get. Ngaukoe has accumulated 15 pressures this season-only one less than Danielle Hunter-and is on an expiring contract. This could be a great opportunity for the Vikings to add more pass rush behind Za’Darius Smith and Hunter, and a better pass rush would help alleviate the pressure on the Vikings’ secondary.
WR Corey Davis, Jets
Fans are currently wanting the Vikings to sign WR Odell Beckham Jr., and while I think that’s a great idea, there are other teams that Beckham will likely want to play for, like the Bills or Chiefs. That being said, I think the Vikings could benefit from the addition of another WR. Corey Davis had a slow start to his career after being the 5th overall pick in the NFL Draft back in 2017. Once that contract expired, he signed a 3-year deal with the New York Jets. The Jets are a team that is probably still a year or so away from truly competing, which is why it could make sense for them to trade Corey Davis as a “sell-high” candidate. Through 6 games this season, he’s put up a respectable stat line — 19 receptions, 351 yards, 2 TDs — and he’s done that mostly with Joe Flacco as his QB. He’s a physical receiver who can play outside and help take pressure off of Jefferson and Thielen.
Big throw from Zach Wilson to Corey Davis pic.twitter.com/6Zw3locAS0— Will Parkinson (@Willpa11) October 16, 2022
The likelihood that the Vikings make these moves is probably slim to none, but never zero. I think that all of these players could have an impact on this team and really help them push deep into the playoffs. Money and trade compensation will always be the biggest hurdles to making these trades become reality. In the end, it’s fun to speculate. Since this new regime has taken over, they’ve yet to let us down, so all we can do is trust their judgment now.