It seems strange. The Minnesota Vikings, a team that just extended quarterback Kirk Cousins’ contract through 2022, would be in the market for the NFL’s most contentious quarterback looking for a new deal right now in the Dallas Cowboys‘ Dak Prescott.
Yet, betting experts have the Vikings with the third-highest odds of landing Dak Prescott as their Week 1 quarterback in 2021 at 8 to 1 odds, trailing only the Indianapolis Colts (6 to 1) and Los Angeles Chargers (7 to 1).
The Chicago Bears join the Vikings with 8 to 1 odds, which seems like a far more likely landing spot given the uncertainty surrounding the Bears quarterback position this season.
Prescott’s contract negotiations have been the ongoing saga with the Cowboys franchise this season. After the two sides failed to reach a long-term deal by last Wednesday, Prescott will play under his franchise tag in 2020, making $31.4 million, and hit free agency in 2021.
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Why It’s Likely a ‘Losing Ticket’
Star Tribune columnist Michael Rand and Vikings writers Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer entertained the Vikings’ odds and concluded that it’s likely a farce.
If the Vikings did shed their contract with Cousins and traded him after the 2020 season, they’d eat a $20 million cap hit before signing their new quarterback. That loss, coupled with the speculation of the salary cap limit taking a serious hit due to COVID-19, would be catastrophic for the Vikings who’d likely have to unroll another exodus of player contracts.
The Star Tribune staff also considered that “the online (betting) sites are looking for publicity during a time when betting action has been painfully slow because of the sports shutdown.”
Only 18 teams are listed as candidates to have Prescott on their Week 1 roster, all with a favorable odds ranging of 6 to 1 to 25 to 1 odds. But the team with the best odds, the Cowboys, are not listed as a team you can bet on.
“When the dust settles, it seems likely Prescott will still be in Dallas in 2021. And everyone suckered into a prop bet — whether they’re frustrated Dallas fans or optimistic fans of another team listed — will be left holding a losing ticket,” Rand wrote.
How Prescott & Cousins Compare
As flashy as acquiring Prescott may seem after the fifth-year quarterback threw for 4,902 yards in 2019, Cousins is likely the better fit in Minnesota.
Cousins was accustomed to slinging it in Washington earned his first Pro Bowl appearance after throwing for 4,917 yards in his 2016. Last year was considered Cousins’ best season as a pro yet as he’s settled in the Vikings play-action heavy offense.
Cousins had the most play-action touchdowns last season and the highest Pro Football Focus grades on designed rollouts and finding receivers out wide and on crossing routes. All these throws are predicated on selling the play-action — and the Vikings were one of the best in 2019.
While Prescott has the arm strength and an edge as a deep passer in a system the Cowboys have built around him, it’s unlikely he’d see the same success in the Viking scheme that Cousins has adapted to.
Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.