Four Reasons Why the Vikings Should NOT Trade Kirk Cousins

Vikings Win
Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) waves to fans as he leaves the field after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot of buzz running through the Minnesota Vikings organization regarding their future. New GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is an exciting hire that should promise a flurry of big moves in the coming months. Even more fascinating, the Vikings could be one of the front-runners to bring in Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach. Among the changes that could happen, some are beckoning for a Kirk Cousins trade to occur so a new era can truly ring in the franchise. Today, we will discuss why that latter part may not be such a great idea.

What About Jim Harbaugh?

In order for the Vikings to lure Jim Harbaugh away from Michigan, they likely need to prove that they have a team ready to win right now. Jim Harbaugh has succeeded with less talent at the quarterback position, but in this scenario, Minnesota will be relying on 1) Kellen Mond, 2) a TBD draft pick, or 3) a less talented free agent acquisition. With Cousins, the Vikings have proven to be one of the top-10 offenses in the NFL, and the veteran would be the best NFL QB Harbaugh has ever gotten a chance to work with.

It most certainly would change the Vikings chances of landing him if they trade away Cousins. He is the best option for the VIkings if their top goal is to win right now. Maybe their goal isn’t to win right now though, and if that is the case, my next argument begs the question: why in the world would Minnesota not try to win right now?

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The NFC is More Winnable Than It’s Ever Been

With Tom Brady’s pending retirement, Thanos is officially no longer inevitable. Aaron Rodgers has likely played his last game with the Green Bay Packers. Sean Payton is out of New Orleans. 2022’s version of the NFC is going to be as wide open as it has been at any point in the 21st century. With that, you’d think a team like the Minnesota Vikings that was a game away from a playoff spot in 2021 would be going all in on trying to win rather than the other way around.

Unless they find a way to trade for Russell Wilson, trying to win right now probably includes keeping Cousins around. That is, unless you’re truly sold on Kellen Mond or any other QB in this draft. Spoiler: you really shouldn’t be.

The 2022 NFL Draft Class is Extremely Weak at QB

After a couple of the most talented draft classes we’ve ever seen at the QB position in 2020 and 2021, it makes sense that there would eventually be a dip. 2022 is that dip. After five QBs went in the top 15 picks of the 2021 class, it is very likely we only see one in 2022. I would say that one selection will be Matt Corral.

Corral has the leadership qualities as well as a decent arm and pinpoint accuracy that could translate to NFL success. With Houston, Carolina, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington sitting ahead of Minnesota, there’s very little chance that he is still on the board by the time the Vikings get around to making their selection. And I don’t feel comfortable enough putting together a massive package to trade up in order to pick him. The fact that Corral would be on a cheaper contract is intriguing, but that brings me to my final point.

Kirk Cousins Will Not Play on a $45 Million Cap Hit

Neither of the Vikings front office nor Kirk Cousins are idiots. The Vikings know that they need to lower Cousins’ cap hit in order to field a competitive team, and Cousins knows if he wants to continue playing in Minnesota, he needs to be negotiable. I would expect the two sides to come to an agreement on an extension at some point this offseason. Even if the Vikings can get something like a 3-yr/$75 million extension done, that should be considered a victory.

This sort of extension would bring Cousins annual salary down to $25 million per year. That is a great deal for Minnesota. At worst, Cousins has been an above average QB throughout his tenure in Minnesota. A $25 million cap hit would *checks notes* be the 12th highest of any QB in 2022. It likely gets even lower in 2023 and 2024.

A new era is always an exciting prospect. We like to think the grass is greener on the other side, but recent weeks have proven that the grass may never be greener than it is right now. Because of these reasons, a Kirk Cousins trade really should not be in the cards right now.