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Friday Patriots Notebook 3/15: News and Notes

Vikings move on Friday could potentially factor into things for the New England Patriots.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 15, 2024 at 12:01 pm ET

Friday Patriots Notebook 3/15: News and Notes(PHOTO: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Some Patriots news and notes for this morning:

Vikings Trade Friday Changes Things

The Vikings are among several teams who have been pondering a move up the draft board, but a move on Friday signals that they may at least be getting more serious about it.

Minnesota has the #11 overall pick, but they got aggressive and Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah reached an agreement with Houston to also acquire their #23 overall selection.  That now gives the Vikings two pieces of currency in Round 1 to move up the board should they elect to target a quarterback.

As things currently sit, the departure of Kirk Cousins to Atlanta certainly altered the Vikings’ current trajectory.  His loss saw them sign Sam Darnold as a placeholder, but Minnesota clearly went from a potential NFC Contender to now trying to figure out how they’re going to handle the position.

The move also created some chaos internally, with superstar wideout Justin Jefferson now reportedly unhappy.  If that situation goes south, it’s probably safe to say most Vikings fans would probably lose their minds if they lost the most explosive player they’ve had since Randy Moss.  It’s obvious that the club is now feeling some pressure, and the only question is going to be what they ultimately decide to do about it.

Adofo-Mensah said on Thursday that they’ll look at whatever opportunities they have and try and use whatever flexibility they have to give them the best chance for that.

“If the opportunity comes where that player’s available, we’ll take it, ” he said via ESPN. “If it’s not available in that sense, we’ll continue to build around and then find potential odds at a long-term solution, in addition to what we’ve already brought in with Sam and anybody else we require. So really, the answer isn’t some strict thing. And part of that is the flexibility we’ve wanted to put into our plan for these past couple years.”

It’s also possible that the Vikings could be coveting Jayden Daniels, who has reportedly been New England’s preference.  This was mentioned here last week, but Alec Lewis of the Athletic, who covers the Vikings, reported previously that he was told by an LSU staffer that Minnesota was “one of the earliest teams to dive into, evaluate, and express an interest in” Daniels.

One other wrinkle is that there have been rumors that the Patriots aren’t necessarily high on Drake Maye and feel strongly enough on Daniels where they may even move back.  One report by Tony Pauline went so far to say that if Daniels comes off the board before the Patriots pick, “the New England Patriots would trade back if Jayden Daniels did not drop to their slot.”

That means, for the Vikings to land him, that would require the Bears to stay the course with taking Caleb Williams.  It would also mean that Minnesota would then have to potentially jump ahead of the Patriots at #2 overall, and it’s possible Friday’s move is one step towards at least giving them that option.

It’s also possible that the Vikings could be pondering a deal with New England.  But for the Patriots to trade back, it would certainly be a big gamble, depending on who is on their radar.  Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is a name that has come up, although his stock has skyrocketed in recent days, and the club was recently on hand for Bo Nix’s workout at Oregon, although he’s another player who is moving up the board.

The only other way you could see it happening would be if Jefferson’s name was floated as an additional chip in the deal.  However, that creates a new problem, and the Vikings may not be even willing to consider it, given the backlash they’d face.

Needless to say, it’s going to be interesting.  The only issue is the Patriots are learning what it’s like to be a cellar-dwelling team and an unattractive landing spot, which has absolutely impacted the start of free agency.

If they continue to struggle to bring in upper-echelon talent, it’s only going to make next month’s draft that much more critical.

Mac Jones

(PHOTO: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Jones Speaks In Jacksonville

Following Mac Jones’ Patriots trade to the Jaguars last weekend, Jones met with the media on Thursday for the first time in Jacksonville.

Jones said his time in New England was a great experience, and he’s excited to get started with his new team.

“A lot of great learning experiences,” said Jones.  “Learned from a great head coach, obviously one of the greatest of all time, been fortunate to kind of work with some great head coaches and learned a lot.  Played a lot of games, started a lot of games, and obviously, things went the way they did, and my goal is to kind of get the train back on the tracks.  So I think I can do that here, and the coaches here have talked to me about that and just how I can help the room and how I can learn from Trevor [Lawrence] and everybody here, and obviously, he’s playing great football and he’s done a great job here in Jacksonville.  So I’m excited to get back with him and C.J. [Beathard] and just learn from them.”

He was then asked if he had any regrets from his time in New England, and Jones said the most important thing in his mind is just learning from it and hopefully improving now that he has a fresh start.

“Every experience is a good experience if you learn from it,” said Jones.  “The games that we lost, the things that happened, obviously you don’t ever want to lose, you want to win every game you play in but I understand that’s sometimes really hard to do in the NFL.  I don’t have regrets.  I feel like I put everything out there.  I gave a lot to that organization and they gave a lot to me, so I’m going to do the same thing here in a good way, and just be myself, be Mac, and learn from, like I said, Trevor and C.J. and the coaches here that have a lot of offensive background.  That’ll be important to me and that’s a big reason why I felt like it would be a good fit.”

The former Patriots quarterback is from Jacksonville, where his parents still live and where Jones said his grandmother also lives.  He joked that his grandmother hasn’t been to a game and that he’s hoping to have her see one at some point.

When asked if he felt like there was any pressure playing in front of his home town, he laughed and said that if anything, that weight has been lifted.

“No, if anything, it’s less,” said Jones.  “It feels good, man.  It’s all good. I feel like they’re building a good thing here so I’m just going to come in and try and work and prove myself and then obviously be a great teammate, put the team first, all those things.”

Jones posted a “thank you” post to everyone in New England via social media on Friday:

Beat Goes On With Zappe

With Jones out of the picture and nothing to do now except keep working this offseason, Bailey Zappe has quietly been busy so far.

The quarterback posted a couple of videos on social media as he works out with Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas, and Tyquan Thornton, with Zappe posting videos of him throwing the receivers passes, as well as lifting weights.

Some people on social media are saying negative things, but give Zappe credit.  While things haven’t necessarily gone his way, he’s at least helping guys around him get ready for the season.  He’s also putting some tape out there showing he’s a guy who isn’t afraid to work, while hopefully giving himself the best chance to continue his career as a back-up on someone’s roster.

For now, the hope is that this work will at least pay off for Bourne, Douglas and Thornton in the coming months.

As for Zappe, he’s likely facing his own battle against Nathan Rourke to avoid ending up on the outside looking in again next August.

Odds and Ends

A quote by safety Xavier McKinney was a reminder of what New England is dealing with when it comes to attracting free agents.  McKinney noted that Jordan Love was a “big factor” in his decision to go to Green Bay, as like most players, he wants to have a shot at winning.  “You need an elite quarterback to be able to even have a chance and I believe he is an elite quarterback,” said McKinney. … Things continue to deteriorate with Tee Higgins in Cincinnati, although the Bengals reportedly plan on keeping him in the fold for 2024.  However, Albert Breer wrote in his mailbag that he believes it’s possible a deal could possibly unfold with another team on draft weekend.  “The Cincinnati Bengals really do intend to keep Higgins, at least for 2024, with their whole focus being on winning a Super Bowl. But it’s not hard to see how this could turn into an A.J. Brown situation, where the team gets an offer close to the draft that it can’t refuse. So my guess would be eventually Higgins gets dealt.” That may be something else to keep in mind as the Patriots continue their hunt for a quality receiver. … The Patriots were apparently not in on Keenan Allen, who was traded to the Bears on Thursday.  The Athletic’s Chad Graff reports that while New England inquired with the Chargers to check on possible trade candidates, Allen wasn’t among the names they were interested in, focusing instead on “other players.”

READ NEXT:
Are The Vikings Eyeing a Trade Up in the Draft For a QB?

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


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