Making the Case for and Against a Kirk Cousins Trade

Vikings-Eagles Pregame Thoughts from 6 Vikings Writers
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. © Jerry Habraken, The News Journal.

Every time there’s a big trade in the NFL, it sparks conversations about what moves each team could make next. After a quiet start to the season in terms of major roster moves, appetites were wetted once again this week when the Carolina Panthers sent star RB Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. And now, as should have been expected, it is once again Vikings QB Kirk Cousins being brought up in trade topics.

This offseason, one of the main landing spots for Cousins in a hypothetical trade was the San Francisco 49ers. Once again, it is this team that lands at the forefront of the trade talks, even though they just moved massive draft capital to acquire McCaffrey. Should the Vikings actually consider a trade, though, assuming Cousins is open to it this offseason? Here’s the case for and against a Kirk Cousins trade.

Why a Trade Could Happen

Obviously, Cousins has the final say in terms of if/where he is traded. Because of his stated desire to retire as a Viking, it seems extremely unlikely that a trade would happen. That said, if Cousins suddenly begins looking for greener grass, the 49ers make the most sense as a landing spot.

San Francisco has oodles of talent all over its roster, and their buzzsaw offense only gets stronger with the acquisition of McCaffrey. Additionally, it would be a reunion between Cousins and his former offensive coordinator from his Washington days, Kyle Shanahan.

On the Vikings side, this could be a way to open up sizeable cap space moving into the 2023 offseason. We’ve covered this ad nauseum here at PurplePTSD, but here’s one more reminder, the Vikings have to offer Justin Jefferson a massive extension this upcoming spring.

Additionally, for the first time since Cousins joined the Vikings, there’s at least a capable backup in Nick Mullens. The former San Francisco 49er started 16 games over the course of three years in the Bay Area, and while his career record isn’t anything special, he’s shown that he can at least move the ball.

Perhaps Minnesota would be fine with a transitory year in 2023 before selecting their QB of the future in what looks to be a very talented 2024 Draft class at the quarterback position.

Why a Trade Doesn’t Make Sense

Again, it was mentioned at the beginning, but Kirk Cousins carries a no-trade clause into the 2023 season. He has to agree to any trade scenario, so that immediately limits the possibilities unless things go horribly wrong for the Vikings down the stretch of the 2022 season.

If things don’t go wrong, and the Vikings make a playoff run this season, the timeline simply doesn’t make sense for a new head coach and GM. Why move on from a QB in favor of much less success for 2023?

Getting rid of the QB that has helped Justin Jefferson reach historic milestones over the first 2.5 seasons of his career could give him pause on signing an extension this year. The only way this makes sense is if the front office and coaching staff are sold on one of the QBs in the 2023 Draft, but the best of the group likely will be off the board by the time Minnesota is on the clock.

Overall, it’s a rather simple argument against a Cousins trade at this point, but these reasons likely trump any positives from the move at this point.


Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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