Deshaun Watson’s NFL future is very much still up in the air. The Houston Texans quarterback faces an unresolved legal situation as the defendant in 22 civil lawsuits. However, rumors are starting to heat up about potential trade partners for the Texans.
The Minnesota Vikings have emerged as a possible suitor for Watson should Houston decide to deal him. With an offensive-minded head coach heading to Minnesota, the three-time Pro Bowler could help take this team to the next level.
Deshaun Watson reportedly would be interested in trade to the Vikings
NFL fans haven’t seen Deshaun Watson play for the Houston Texans since the 2020 season. He missed the entire 2021 season, and his status for 2022 is still undetermined. Still, many people are speculating where the Pro Bowl quarterback could be playing next if cleared.
According to ESPN insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano, the Minnesota Vikings are one of two teams on Watson’s radar. The other is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are looking for Tom Brady’s successor.
Watson is under contract with the Texans through 2023, with a potential out in 2024. He also has a no-trade clause, which could help him influence where he goes next.
Minnesota presents an intriguing situation for the 26-year-old signal-caller. Kirk Cousins is under contract through 2022 and wouldn’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2023. The veteran quarterback has been highly productive during his four seasons with the Vikings. However, doubts surround whether or not he can be a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.
From a football perspective, Deshaun Watson would make a lot of sense for the Vikings.
The 3-time Pro Bowler would elevate Minnesota’s offense
Several moving pieces must get figured out before any Deshaun Watson trade actually comes to fruition. However, the idea of the Texans quarterback in a Vikings uniform gets the wheels churning.
The pieces are starting to take shape in Minnesota. Dalvin Cook is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Second-year wideout Justin Jefferson has emerged as a superstar. Meanwhile, Adam Thielen has been one of the more consistent receivers in the league when healthy.
The Vikings also recently hired Kevin O’Connell as their next head coach. He spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams. Alongside Sean McVay, O’Connell helped transform the Rams offense. Minnesota’s front office is hoping he can do the same thing for its franchise in 2022.
Deshaun Watson is a dynamic quarterback who could fit nicely with the Vikings’ weapons on that side of the ball. The Clemson product brings a different dimension than Kirk Cousins can provide. His electric playmaking ability could make this a challenging offense to slow down.
Watson threw for 4,823 yards (league-high), 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while completing 70.2% of his passes in 2020.
With O’Connell in town, the Vikings are likely going to pass more. Watson is the better overall quarterback than Cousins, thanks to his game-breaking dual-threat ability.
The Texans QB’s legal situation is still unresolved
Any trade involving Deshaun Watson is pretty much hypothetical at this point. The Houston Texans quarterback is currently facing legal trouble. He had 22 civil lawsuits filed against him by women alleging sexual assault or misconduct during massage sessions.
Beyond the legal fallout, the NFL could also choose to discipline Watson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. A suspension would undoubtedly impact a team’s willingness to engage in trade talks for the Pro Bowl quarterback.
On the field, the Watson would be a great fit for either the Minnesota Vikings or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, just because the Texans star is eyeing these destinations doesn’t mean the organizations would be willing to take the risk.
Deshaun Watson is a phenomenal talent on the football field and could make an immediate impact on any team that trades for him. Still, he has a long way to go before he’s able to suit up again.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.