The Minnesota Vikings aren’t throwing in the towel on their season just yet.
On the same day the Vikings captured their first win of the year, Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported that the team currently has no plans to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins ahead of the October 31 deadline.
“The [New York] Jets have not called the Vikings about Cousins,” Russini wrote on Sunday, October 1. “And despite the winless Vikings entering Week 4 with their second consecutive game against a winless opponent, two team sources said the Vikings are not punting on the season and have no plans to trade Cousins, who would have to waive his no-trade clause to be moved.”
Cousins led Minnesota to a 21-13 road victory against the Carolina Panthers just hours after Russini’s report was published.
Vikings Say Wideout Justin Jefferson Not on Trade Block
Russini also offered a report dismissing any notion that the team might deal All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who has been extension-eligible since the offseason.
“In addition, those sources shot down trade rumors regarding star wide receiver Justin Jefferson,” Russini wrote. “The team already tried extending Jefferson in a deal that would make him one of the highest-paid players in football.”
Trade rumors around Jefferson haven’t been nearly as prevalent as they have around Cousins, with national sports personalities like ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum and former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski suggesting the Vikings move on from the QB if they can’t stem the losing.
Cousins is playing on the final year of his contract in Minnesota, and the franchise has chosen not to offer him a multiyear extension in either of the previous two offseasons. The quarterback could feasibly bring back a second- or third-round pick from the right organization, while he’s likely to leave in free agency for nothing if the Vikings hold onto him for the rest of the 2023 campaign.
Jefferson is on track to be one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and is playing just his fourth season at 24 years old.
Vikings Continue to Struggle with Turnovers Against Panthers
Despite earning their first win on Sunday, the Vikings have a ton yet to clean up if they hope to compete with the likes of the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who will travel to Minnesota in Week 5. Namely, the problem has been turnovers.
The Vikings lead the NFL with 11 total turnovers through four games and are second-to-last in turnover differential at -8, per The Football Database. A late-game interception off the hand of Cousins cost the Vikings a victory against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, and those issues continued for the quarterback on Sunday.
Cousins threw two interceptions to Panthers defenders, including one to safety Sam Franklin Jr. in the first quarter that he returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Cousins also fumbled once on the day, though Minnesota was able to recover the football.
It wasn’t all bad, obviously, as the Vikings prevailed on the strength of two touchdown passes from Cousins to Jefferson.