Vikings Trade Pitch Sends Kirk Cousins to AFC for High Draft Pick

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Getty Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings are off to a difficult start and a few more losses in the coming weeks could render them players at the NFL’s mid-season trade deadline.

There are two high-profile trade-block candidates on the Vikings roster currently playing on the final year of their contracts in 2023 — outside linebacker Danielle Hunter and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Both sought multiyear extensions this offseason and both were denied. Instead the Vikings gave Hunter a raise and chose not to add any years or money to Cousins’ deal.

While there is a decent chance that neither player is back in purple and gold next season, that Cousins will move on to another team by 2024 is near a certainty. Minnesota has a fearsome pass attack with All-Pro Justin Jefferson leading the way, followed by rookie breakout star Jordan Addison and recently-extended tight end T.J. Hockenson. However, a difficult schedule over the next few weeks could result in the Vikings playing themselves out of the division race, and potentially even the wildcard race, early. In that scenario, dealing Cousins for a draft asset would begin to look like a logical path.

That was the argument made by former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum on the Friday edition of ESPN’s Get Up, who named the New York Jets as potentially the most interested trade partner for Cousins following the season-ending Achilles injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“It makes a ton of sense,” Tannenbaum said. “If I’m the Jets, at $555,000 a week, which is what Kirk Cousins is, that’s very reasonable. Give up a third-round pick and go with Kirk Cousins.”

Tannenbaum added that the move makes equal sense on the Vikings’ side of the equation.

“And if I’m the Minnesota Vikings, and I know I can’t get to where I wanna go — beat [the] San Francisco [49ers], Dallas [Cowboys] and some of the other powers in the NFC, let’s start the rebuild process. He’s not gonna be there next year anyway. And in another week or two, if [the Vikings are] 1-3 [or] 0-4, this makes a ton of sense.”

Vikings Face Daunting Schedule Ahead of NFL Trade Deadline

Kirk Cousins

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings is a potential trade candidate if the team continues to struggle. 

Minnesota lost its second consecutive game on Thursday night, September 14, to the Philadelphia Eagles. While the scoreboard read 34-28 at the final whistle, Minnesota trailed by double-digits for the majority of the second half and scored a touchdown on a late fourth-quarter drive to cut the lead to six, though a victory never appeared to be in the cards.

The Vikings have a tough road ahead of the October 31 trade deadline. Minnesota will host a desperate Los Angeles Chargers squad in Week 3 in a matchup of 0-2 teams that both made the playoffs last season. The Chargers have lost their two games by a total of 5 points, including a 3-point defeat in overtime on the road against the Tennessee Titans Sunday.

Week 4 is probably a win for Minnesota as they go on the road against the Carolina Panthers, who are likely to end up one of the worst teams in the league when all is said and done. However, the Vikings face the Kansas City Chiefs and the 49ers in two of the following three weeks, with a divisional road matchup against the Chicago Bears sandwiched in between. Minnesota’s final game before the deadline is against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 29.

The Vikings’ passing attack is strong enough to keep them competitive in most of those contests, though injuries across the offensive line and an anemic run game will render the offense one-dimensional and make it that much harder for Cousins and company to be explosive as defenses stack up against the pass.

It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Vikings could be 3-5, or even 2-6 if things go really wrong, by the time the trade deadline arrives. In either of those scenarios, Cousins may well find himself on the trade block.

Vikings Insider Expresses Doubt that Kirk Cousins Would Sign off on Trade to Jets

GettyQuarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings.

Judd Zulgad of USA Today’s Vikings Wire on Friday threw some cold water on the trade talk surrounding Cousins to the Jets, citing a clause in the QB’s contract that he believes may well shut any deal with New York down.

Considering all the excitement that surrounded the Jets, it’s not surprising that ESPN and Get Up host Mike Greenberg, a lifelong Jets fanatic, would embrace the opportunity to try to find a way to get Cousins to New York. The fact Cousins is in the final year of his contract only fuels this fire.

But there is one major sticking point: Cousins has a no-trade clause and it’s hard to see him waiving that to play in New York. Cousins is about as un-New York as it gets and, judging from what we saw on the Netflix docuseries Quarterback, doesn’t seem like he would be interested in uprooting his family and moving to the East Coast. Cousins also is meticulous in his planning and is about as professionally un-spontaneous as it gets.

Zulgad’s point is well taken. That said, the Jets have a championship-caliber defense and an impressive running back duo in Breece Hall and former Vikings Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson has the potential to be a top-10 pass-catcher in the league during his second season, and Cousins would only need to usurp Zach Wilson to secure the No. 1 job under center.

If a Super Bowl ring is on the table, Cousins might be willing to make a half-year move to the big city before entering unrestricted free agency next March.

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Jeff Wooldridge
Jeff Wooldridge
4 days ago

Kirk is the best QB we have had in a long time! The O line has to block for plays to develop. Keep him he will get us there!