With so much quarterback movement taking place this offseason, many analysts and experts wondered if the Minnesota Vikings were the next team planning to jump into the fray. The organization had just hired a new general manager and head coach, and had a QB in Kirk Cousins under contract who most NFL fans would consider overpaid.
Add in the fact the Vikings needed to clear cap space and are likely staring down a rebuilding period of sorts; trading Cousins to a team desperate for a QB made perfect sense.
However, that trade never materialized. Instead, the Vikings offered Cousins another contract extension, committing a further $35 million to the veteran passer in 2023. It’s a strange move, one that looks even stranger when you consider the Vikings had legitimate trade offers on the table for Cousins.
The Vikings foolishly ignored trade offers for Kirk Cousins
Had there been zero leaguewide interest in Cousins, it would have made sense for the Vikings to extend Cousins by another season. It was the only way for the franchise to clear up cap space (they pushed some of Cousins’ current cap hit into 2023).
However, according to recent reports, that wasn’t the case. Several teams came calling for Cousins. The Vikings simply chose to ignore their offers.
As it turns out, if the Vikings had wanted to trade Kirk Cousins, they could have.
Chad Graff of TheAthletic.com reports that “multiple teams” had expressed interest in trading for Cousins. The teams aren’t identified; “multiple” technically means more than one.Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
Chad Graff’s report doesn’t specify who the teams are who came calling about Cousins. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which NFL front offices are still in need of a QB. The Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and Pittsburgh Steelers (pre-Mitchell Trubisky signing) all come to mind.
The Vikings should’ve cashed out when they had the chance
Cousins is not a bad quarterback. That’s an important point that needs to be made here. However, he’s not exactly a good quarterback either.
He has a .500 career winning percentage, he’s never received any MVP votes, he’s never been an All-Pro, and he’s never made it past the Divisional Round in the postseason.
In a league dominated by elite quarterback play, that’s simply not good enough.
The Vikings were staring down a golden opportunity this offseason. Several teams were/are absolutely desperate for a new starting QB. Minnesota could’ve easily leveraged this desperation into a haul of draft picks, simultaneously freeing themselves of Cousins’ massive cap hit.
Instead, the new regime decided to double down on the old regime’s mistakes. Now, the franchise is married to Cousins for at least one more season (likely two).
What next for Minnesota?
Common sense suggests the Vikings continue to try and build a winner around Cousins. However, that’s probably not the case.
They’ve yet to make any notable moves in free agency, and rumors have popped up about them being willing to trade starting RB Dalvin Cook and starting WR Adam Thielen.
This is a team that’s preparing to rebuild … while paying a quarterback close to $40 million. It really doesn’t make any sense at all.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.