The Minnesota Vikings are working the phones ahead of the November 1 trade deadline.
KSTP’s Darren Wolfson reported that the Vikings have been in talks with the Houston Texans, and NFL.com’s Kevin Patra reported that the Texans have been taking calls on wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
“Texans WR Brandin Cooks has been the target of multiple calls from teams trying to pry the wideout out of Houston,” Patra, of NFL.com, wrote on October 23. “Cooks, who has been traded three times, would tie Eric Dickerson for most trades in one career if shipped out again. The wideout has been stellar in Houston and is coming off back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons.”
Wolfson also said on the October 25 episode of the “SKOR North” podcast that adding a pass catcher who can stretch the field is one of Minnesota’s highest priorities. The Vikings have struggled to create explosive plays, with Kirk Cousins averaging a career-low 6.0 intended air yards per pass attempt since arriving in Minnesota.
Cooks would check that box and he already has familiarity with Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
Cooks Has Vikings Connections
Wolfson said he had not gotten confirmation whether Cooks was part of the discussions between the Vikings and Texans, from whom Minnesota acquired defensive tackle Ross Blacklock in a trade during the offseason.
The connections are there with Cooks, who played under Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips during his time with the Los Angeles Rams as well as other Vikings staffers.
He’s averaged 13.6 yards per reception as one of the league’s most established deep-threat receivers. Cooks tested in the 99th percentile for his 20-yard split and posted a 4.33 40-time that ranked in the 94th percentile among receivers in his draft class, per Mockdraftable.
Last season, Cooks tallied a career-high 90 receptions for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns in 2021. On an offense that struggled, Cooks was the go-to guy with 57 more receptions than any other player. He had twice as many touchdown catches than any of his teammates and 591 more receiving yards as well.
Cooks carries a $1.6 million cap hit at this juncture in the season, which is a reasonable rental fee for the veteran wide receiver.
However, beyond the 2022 season could become a problem for Minnesota.
Brandin Cooks Carries Hefty Price Tag
In April, Cooks struck a two-year, $39.7 million contract extension with the Texans that could make Cooks hard to deal.
Nearly his entire contract is guaranteed, a rarity at the wide receiver position, with $36 million in guarantees through the 2024 season.
Beyond this season, Houston is on the hook for a pair of $8.1 million bonuses for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, making Cooks’ cap hits for a trade suitor $18.5 million in 2023 and $16.5 in 2024, per Over the Cap. That could be a steep price with Minnesota expected to make Justin Jefferson the highest-paid receiver in the league next offseason.
Of course, the Vikings could roll the dice with Cooks and try to trade him in the offseason. He’s been highly sought after ahead of the trade deadline and also last offseason. However, it’s not guaranteed Minnesota could find a trade suitor at the right price.
If Cooks sees the end of his current contract, he’ll have made over $120 million in his career — including the final payout on his current deal the Vikings may not be able. to afford.