Hours after trading running back Pierre Strong Jr. to the Browns in exchange for offensive line help, the Patriots are back at it, acquiring backup offensive tackle Vederian Lowe from the Vikings, according to the Star Tribune.
A sixth-round draft pick of Minnesota in 2022, the 24-year-old Lowe will reportedly go to New England in return for a future sixth-rounder. He's the second offensive lineman to be traded to the Patriots on Sunday, after Strong was dealt for Tyrone Wheatley Jr., a fourth-year journeyman out of Stony Brook who had been competing for a reserve role in Cleveland.
Lowe played 140 snaps for the Vikings this preseason, per the Tribune, second-most among all linemen on the team, and saw extensive action at left tackle. His summer performances prompted speculation he might overtake fifth-year veteran Oli Udoh as the primary swing tackle behind starters Christian Darrisaw and Brian O'Neill. But he struggled in pass protection during the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus, and could've been a cut candidate ahead of Tuesday's deadline to trim rosters to 53 players.
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The Patriots are clearly desperate for any reinforcements up front, where they've struggled to protect quarterbacks Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe since the start of last season. The unit allowed six sacks in New England's preseason finale, and starting right tackle Riley Reiff, a former Viking who joined the Pats in March, is currently sidelined from practice with a leg injury. Other vets, including Mike Onwenu, Cole Strange and Calvin Anderson, have also battled -- or continue to battle -- injuries in the lead-up to Week 1.
Here's how we'd grade the latest trade:
Hey, it's something, right? Whereas Sunday's earlier trade netted a linemen with zero game-day experience, Lowe has at least taken snaps in four games, including at left tackle. There was also a time this summer he appeared poised to play a key reserve role for a Vikings team that employs a pair of solid bookends. For a sixth, why not? They need all the help they can get.
Recouping a sixth for a 2022 sixth-rounder is solid, considering Lowe may have ridden the bench all year anyway. But by all accounts, this was a beloved locker-room story with unteachable traits at 6-foot-6 with second-level athleticism. In other words, Lowe offered upside at a position of importance. They must be comfortable with the other depth pieces in place.