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Vikings are being urged to trade up for the former first-round pick

The Minnesota Vikings have made some big changes this offseason. None was bigger than their decision to acquire quarterback Kirk Cousins, allowing him to leave in free agency. He signed a huge contract with the Atlanta Falcons, leaving a huge void under center.

In free agency, the Vikings signed Sam Darnold. For a few weeks it looked like he could be the starting player in 2024. But that is no longer the case. Minnesota moved up one spot in the 2024 NFL Draft and selected Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy.

McCarthy could find his way into the lineup in Week 1. The Vikings are a happy landing spot for any young quarterback given the supporting cast. Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson, 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison and tight end TJ Hockenson are one of the best passing trios in the NFL.

However, if a young quarterback wants to succeed early in his career, he must be protected. There are some questions about the Vikings’ offensive line, which could use some reinforcements this season.

That’s why Tyler Forness of The Sporting News has suggested they make a trade with the New York Giants. Forness mentioned Evan Neal as someone the Vikings could look to acquire as a buy-low candidate to address their offensive line needs.

“Neal looked like a future tackle at the NFL level. Unfortunately, its size has been a major hindrance to its growth. He has a tendency to lean and that gets him beaten and loses playing power. Neal played both tackle spots and guard at Alabama as they continue to try to get their best offensive lineman on the field regardless of position. That also hindered his development.

The idea behind acquiring Neal is to both potentially get a guard now and develop him behind the scenes to give the Vikings some versatility on their offensive line. You could argue that Neal would still be an upgrade over Blake Brandel at left guard, even at his current level of play,” Forness wrote.

While the idea makes sense, this is likely not a deal that is feasible for the Vikings. The Giants have given no indication that they are willing to throw in the towel and trade Neal, let alone even move him from right tackle.

All signs point to them keeping him as a bookend for Andrew Thomas and hoping a new offensive line coach can get him back on track. After that, a move inside could be considered, but trading him away doesn’t appear to be part of Big Blue’s plans at the moment. That leaves the Vikings looking elsewhere for offensive line help.