The Minnesota Vikings are willing to make uncomfortable moves to move the organization forward.
Minnesota released one of the franchise’s most popular players in Adam Thielen on March 10 along with cornerback Cameron Dantzler.
But the biggest decision facing the franchise’s next future is what to do with Kirk Cousins, who enters the final year of his contract and is looking for a multiyear extension. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah came clean, saying he’s willing to move on from Cousins if they cannot reach a deal that offers more flexibility, prompting speculation surrounding Cousins’ future.
Considering the uncertainty surrounding Cousins, KFAN’s Paul Allen proposed a trade that would send Cousins and Za’Darius Smith, who has requested to be cut from the team, to the Houston Texans for the No. 2 and 12 overall picks in the upcoming draft.
“There have been reports locally and nationally. Kirk wants a longer deal and the team may want to just go one year or play this year out,” Allen said, adding that his trade proposal is purely speculative. “You call Houston and you say, ‘We’ll take No. 2 and No. 12 and you can take the quarterback and the disgruntled pass rusher.’ ”
Allen went on to add that in this scenario, the Vikings would have the No. 2, No. 12 and No. 23 picks in the first round of the draft and have the control to land top quarterback prospect Will Levis, who O’Connell was impressed by during the scouting combine.
The Vikings would have a top quarterback prospect and two first-round picks to address needs on the roster this season. By 2024, Minnesota would have upwards of $100 million in cap space to reload the roster and make a serious run — a timeline the Philadelphia Eagles emulated in their recent run to the Super Bowl with a young quarterback in Jalen Hurts.
Vikings Need to Decide Cousins Future if They Hope to Trade Him
The clock is ticking for the Vikings to decide whether they’ll extend Cousins or allow him to play out the final year of his deal.
An extension, a route Minnesota has taken twice with Cousins, would create some immediate cap space but restrain the Vikings in the following years. Meanwhile, moving on from a veteran quarterback would allow the Vikings to have more funds to build a better team around a more inexpensive signal caller — ideally a rookie quarterback.
While the Vikings can wait and see if they want to re-sign Cousins next offseason, he would be a free agent and able to entertain offers elsewhere, which would eliminate the possibility of a trade as well.
Vikings on the Verge of New Era With Veteran Departures
Since making the NFC Championship game in 2018, the Vikings have won just one playoff game in five seasons.
Every offseason has seen a string of veteran departures, but this offseason could be one of the final purges of veteran talent that has since passed its prime.
Harrison Smith and Danielle Hunter are the only remaining player on the roster from the NFC title game (Dalvin Cook was injured).
“A well needed and long overdue roster purge happening in Minnesota,” ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid tweeted in response to Thielen’s release. “Kwesi and KOC getting a chance to mold the roster into what they actually want it to be. 2024 is the goal. A team headed towards a brand new identity and lots of younger pieces.”