The Minnesota Vikings have been in limbo since acquiring Kirk Cousins in free agency. Coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship game in 2018, the Vikings signed Cousins to secure a proven quarterback that could lead the team through a deep postseason run.
But three years in, the marriage has produced menial results: one wild card playoff win. And Minnesota seems further from its ultimate goal of a Super Bowl.
Speculation has grown of whether the Vikings will begin looking for its successor at quarterback. The Vikings could search free agency, the trade market or the draft for their future at quarterback.
However, Star Tribune beat reporter Andrew Krammer isn’t high on any replacement quarterback coming to Minnesota or Cousins leaving in 2021.
Instead, Krammer sees higher odds of another team leader possibly leaving the Vikings this offseason.
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Krammer Has Odds of Danielle Hunter Leaving on a Coin Flip
Krammer, appearing on Matthew Coller’s Purple Insider podcast, weighed the odds of many rumors being realized this offseason.
While he was bearish on any moves made at quarterback, he explained why he believes there’s a serious chance star defensive end Danielle Hunter could be traded this offseason. Coller likened the odds to a coin flip, which Krammer did not explicitly agree, but gave the idea of trading Hunter the highest odds of two quarterback-related questions asked earlier in the show.
Here’s Krammer’s reasoning:
I think this is the highest percentage chance… Behind the scenes, I know [Hunter] was not happy with how a lot of it was dealt publicly — in terms of the information that came out about his injury, his process in seeking surgery and deciding to get operated on. He wasn’t happy with a lot of that and made that known to people in the open.
Because of that, we know he’s unhappy on one end of the spectrum and on the other end we know he’s also been really underpaid for some time. We haven’t heard that from him, but we know that’s gotta weigh on him. There was that vague NFL media report that he wants to be the highest-paid defender in the NFL. I don’t know if any of that is true, I can’t verify that, but he’s underpaid and that’s another part of it.
Krammer added that given the severity of the season-ending neck injury that required Hunter to have surgery, Minnesota may take the chance to part ways with Hunter if the right package was offered.
With all of that in play, I do think there’s enough smoke that if somebody comes in, If there’s a Rams-type team that thinks ‘We are a Danielle Hunter piece away. We believe this Defensive Player of the Year candidate is a guy who can take us over the top. Here’s a Khalil Mack-style trade package for him.’
Why would you say no if you’re the Vikings. Right now this defense is not a Danielle Hunter away, from being one of the worst in the NFL, to back up to where you were in 2017. I also don’t think that they’re a Michael Pierce and Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr away. I still think you have many questions even if you have all three of those guys healthy. You don’t know if those players are going to be the same when they come back. There’s just so many questions.
I think the team should be open about it. From what I’ve heard about Danielle from his camp, I think they would be open about it. It’s just a question of is that a reality: do teams want him? what would those packages be?
Coller offered a trade example from a previous episode where Minnesota would receive two late first-round picks from the New York Jets for Hunter — a scenario that Coller said was not well-received by fans who believe the 25-year-old defensive end warrants a Khalil Mack type package.
The dilemma surrounding Hunter’s value is whether he is his same self after having surgery this season.
Krammer Suggests Vikings Are Unlikely to Draft a Mid-Round QB
While the 2021 quarterback draft class has received high praise as one of the deepest in recent memory, Krammer struck down the possibility that the Vikings would take a mid-round flyer on a rookie quarterback in this year’s draft who could be a backup to Cousins in 2021.
He summed his reasoning to Rick Spielman’s draft history over the years as Spielman often ventures to use mid- and late-round picks for developmental pieces at other positions.
“I have a hard time thinking at this moment that is going to change, especially with COVID-19 continuing to impact the draft process the evaluation process,” Krammer said. “This front office didn’t take chances on quarterbacks when they had full evaluations. What’s to say they’re going to pivot from one of their basic tenants at the position — not drafting [mid-round quarterbacks] — to pivot in an offseason where they have less information and take a bigger risk.”
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