Primetime Kirk Cousins Fuels Trade Talks for Vikings QB

Kirk Cousins

Getty Kirk Cousins during the Vikings' Week 2 loss to the Eagles.

The calls for Kirk Cousins to the Jets are up a decibel.

The Vikings quarterback completed 31 of 44 pass attempts for 364 yards and four touchdowns despite a poor performance from his offensive line in a 34-28 loss to the Eagles on Thursday.

It was one of Cousins’ best primetime performances to date and flipped the narrative that he can’t win in primetime to his teams can’t win in primetime.

That point is debatable on a game-by-game basis. What isn’t debatable is the Vikings offensive line cannot protect, begging the question of whether Minnesota can truly contend with its current roster.

The Vikings start the season with the dreaded 0-2 record, while Cousins leads the league with 708 yards passing for seven touchdowns and one interception.

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin pitched a trade with the Jets for Cousins in the aftermath of the Vikings’ loss to the Eagles, noting the team’s “competitive rebuild” philosophy doesn’t align with the direction the team is going. Meanwhile, Cousins is playing at an MVP caliber through two weeks.

“No, the Vikings aren’t out of it. But this is a team whose general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, said back in March that 2023 would be a ‘competitive rebuild.’ History suggests an 0-2 start is deadly; between 2007-2021, only 12 of 125 teams to lose their first two ended up in the playoffs,” Benjamin wrote, adding that this offseason indicated the Vikings were taking a step backward. “Minnesota spent much of its offseason shipping out win-now pieces like Dalvin Cook and Eric Kendricks. It reportedly considered a trade for ex-49ers QB Trey Lance at the combine.”

Vikings Should Get Something for Kirk Cousins After Turning Down Extension Offer

Yes, the Vikings were a 13-4 team last season but that was due to a hot start. Minnesota is 5-6 since being demolished by the Cowboys in primetime last November. The Vikings have lost three consecutive games since their loss to the Giants in the NFC Wild Card round — another game where Minnesota’s offensive interior was overwhelmed.

“Why on Earth wouldn’t they entertain selling high on Cousins in the QB’s own contract year, before he has the chance to cash in and return less via compensatory picks? It’s not like his current offensive line is necessarily strong enough to keep him upright in the Twin Cities anyway. Imagine the potential long-term payoff for Adofo-Mensah if he got at least one premium pick in a deal, potentially packaging multiple picks in 2024 for the kind of draft-day QB swing they’ve been unable to take for years,” Benjamin added.

Facing the Chargers, Panthers and Chiefs in the next three weeks, it’s probable that Minnesota could be staring down at a 1-4 record with less than a month before the trade deadline.

If the Vikings, which declined a deal on a long-term extension from Cousins in the offseason, continue to slide, it’d be wise to get something for Cousins, especially if they’ve already moved on from him.

Cousins has a no-trade clause, but who’s to say he doesn’t waive it to land with a team that can protect him and has considerably better odds of making the Super Bowl beyond their quarterback situation?

Why Would the Vikings Move on From Kirk Cousins

At this stage of Cousins’ stead in Minnesota, the veteran quarterback is the ideal version of who the Vikings hoped he’d be back in 2018.

However, the league’s best defense from the 2017 season defense has atrophied and needs to be rebuilt. The offensive line could use at least two new guards and some depth as well.

Cousins isn’t the priciest quarterback in the league anymore, either. But a veteran quarterback deal is still a considerable undertaking for any team.

The Vikings have a better chance at contending within the next two years by adding quality free-agent talent which will come at a cost.

A rookie quarterback contract allows the Vikings to do that.

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