Life happens fast in the NFL.
Just a little over two years ago, the 49ers traded three first-round picks and a third-rounder to move up nine spots to select Trey Lance No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lance, a Marshall, Minn. native who had flashed dual threat skills at North Dakota State, started two games as a rookie and was the 49ers No. 1 QB heading into 2022 before an ankle injury in Week 2 ended his season.
San Francisco eventually turned to Brock Purdy — the last pick in the 2022 draft — and he saved their season. Now he's their franchise starter. And Sam Darnold, like Lance a former No. 3 overall pick, just beat out Lance for the backup job on Wednesday.
From No. 3 in the draft to No. 3 on the depth chart is a rough journey.
Trade chatter has picked up, and the Vikings keep getting linked to Lance in national reports and betting odds list them as a favorite to land him. It's a potentially interesting idea, as I talked about on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast, but we have to ask: Should the Vikings even want him, even if the cost is just a mid-round draft pick?
Here are three reasons for and three against the idea of the Vikings pursuing Lance:
*The Vikings don't have a clear path at quarterback beyond 2023, with Kirk Cousins slated to be a free agent. Lance, who still has two years left on his rookie deal counting this season, would be a relatively low-priced ($5.3 million cap hit for the Vikings in 2024) option with upside as a potential starter next season.
*Lance has some traits the Vikings seem to covet, including the ability to make plays with his legs. He would be an intriguing developmental project for Kevin O'Connell.
*Just two years ago, Lance was coveted enough for the 49ers to make a massive trade to get him at No. 3 overall. The raw talent is there, and a gamble that his lack of repetitions and bad injury luck will dissipate over time could pay off in a big way.
*Even with all the caveats, the fact that Lance has fallen this far on the 49ers' depth chart is a red flag. At a certain point, draft position ceases to matter. Is Lance good enough to be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback?
*One big knock on Lance is that he is not a very accurate passer. That's not an easy thing to fix, and it could be a deal-breaker for a coach like O'Connell.
*Lance would cost $3.7 million on the cap this season and $5.3 million next season if the Vikings traded for him. Those aren't big numbers in a vacuum, but they are a lot for a developmental player — which Lance would seem to be at the moment. The Vikings would need to like Lance a lot to take that kind of risk.
Bottom line: The timing seems awkward, and a Lance trade would create even more limbo for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings would be betting on Lance's upside if they eyed him as a potential 2024 starter, but it would at least given them a known option under contract for that year.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Slow down, Royce Lewis. I like the confidence, but this quote after Wednesday's 8-7 loss to the Brewers — when the Twins scored six runs of standout Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead — caught my attention: "Hitting the ball in the air off a guy like that, an ace pitcher, is pretty impressive. That's something looking forward to the playoffs, that's what you need to do."
The Twins have a 4.5-game lead in August and have been inconsistent all year. Let's sit tight on the playoff talk for a while.
*Shohei Ohtani has a ligament tear in his elbow, Mike Trout is headed back to the injured list and the Angels are 5-16 since the trade deadline, when they decided to be buyers instead of dealing Ohtani. Could it be any worse?
*Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath will be the featured guest on Friday's Daily Delivery podcast.