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Vikings Likely ‘Quietly Shopping’ Kirk Cousins During Prime Trade Window: Insider

Getty Kirk Cousins came under fire by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, who connected some shade from former Vikings executive and Broncos GM George Paton.

The Super Bowl is the golden opportunity for teams looking to sell hope for the next season.

And with many teams believing they’re a quarterback away from making their own appearance in the big game, this week may be an opportune time for the Minnesota Vikings to dangle Kirk Cousins in front of potential trade partners.

SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad recently speculated a likely chance that new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may be taking calls for Cousins despite several reports touting Cousins’ is secure in Minnesota.

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Zulgad: Vikings’ Quietly Shopped’ Cousins Last Offseason

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that soon-to-be head coach Jeremy Fowler has a “firm belief” in Cousins, signaling the veteran quarterback’s future with the Vikings is secure.

“Soon-to-be Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell conveyed a firm belief in Kirk Cousins during the interview process, I’m told. He’s high on him. The front office must decide on Cousins’ future due to his $45M cap hit, but many coaches interviewing for job liked Cousins, O’Connell included,” Fowler tweeted on February 7.

Fowler’s report echoed a similar sentiment that Adam Schefter reported during the Pro Bowl, saying that O’Connell’s relationship with Cousins (from one season together in Washington) was one of the reasons the Rams offensive coordinator wanted the job.

However, Zulgad is not sold the Vikings are locking up Cousins — rather, they’re polishing the quarterback for the showroom floor.

“It’s in the Vikings’ best interest to make potential trade partners believe that it will cost a substantial amount for new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to part with Cousins,” Zulgad wrote.

In recent years, many of the biggest quarterback trades have come in proxy of the Super Bowl, making this week an opportune time for the Vikings to reopen rumored trade talks that happened last season.

From Zulgad:

A year ago, the Vikings were believed to have quietly shopped Cousins before ownership objected to moving the guy they had been told was the key to a Super Bowl. But Adofo-Mensah is unlikely to be under any such restrictions as he hits the reset button on the roster. While the Vikings, or any other NFL team, can’t officially complete a trade until the NFL’s new year begins on March 16, Cousins’ future could be decided much sooner than that. It was just before Super Bowl week last year when the Rams and Lions agreed on a trade that sent quarterback Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles for QB Jared Goff, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-rounder in 2021. In 2018, Washington acquired quarterback Alex Smith from Kansas City for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller during Super Bowl week in Minneapolis. That trade opened the door for Cousins to leave Washington.”

The Stafford trade, meanwhile, has worked out extremely well for a Rams team that felt it needed an upgrade at quarterback for an all-in roster to reach the Super Bowl. That proved to be correct and in many ways is what the Vikings thought they were doing in 2018, when they signed Cousins but then missed the playoffs.

But continuing to maintain the appearance that the Vikings have no real intention of moving Cousins is one way to get the most in return. Even if Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell have decided that moving on from him is in everyone’s best interest.

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Cousins Draws Matthew Stafford Comparison

Zulgad’s mention of the Matthew Stafford trade is timely. Patrick Peterson recently compared Cousins to the Rams signal caller that’s led Los Angeles back to the Super Bowl.

Stafford and Cousins are in the same tier of quarterback, posting similar statistics throughout their careers.

However, with the right game plan, the Rams have taken Stafford, who previously hadn’t won a single postseason game in his 11-year career, into a Super Bowl quarterback.

Stafford’s run this year has only raised Cousins’ value, showing that a team can make the Super Bowl without a top-tier quarterback. Cousins could draw similar prospects for a willing trade partner despite his contract being the most significant point of contention in a trade.

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