The Vikings Shouldn’t Rush to Find Their Next QB

Questions Answered: Cousins against PHI, Cine Ready, NFC Frontrunners
Oct 7, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports.

One of the main topics of conversation around Minnesota Vikings circles surrounded the future of their quarterback Kirk Cousins. Would the Vikings trade him or would they extend him? Ultimately, the Vikings chose to give him a 1-year extension, ensuring he remains in a purple uniform through 2023.

Looking around the NFL world in 2022, and it’s looking like Minnesota made the right decision, and they may do it again. Here’s why the 2022 NFL season continues to show why the Vikings shouldn’t rush to find their next quarterback.

Trading in the Draft

This is not meant to say that guys like Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert weren’t worth high draft picks in 2020. Nor is it a bad thing to take chances on QBs if you’ve already got a pick high enough to do so.

That said, the Vikings likely aren’t going to have a high draft pick anytime soon. And, if you look at some of the trades to acquire high draft picks for QBs, there isn’t exactly a great track record. Since 2016, here are the QBs that teams drafted up in the first round to select:

  • Paxton Lynch (2016 Broncos)
  • Carson Wentz (2016 Eagles)
  • Jared Goff (2016 Rams)
  • Deshaun Watson (2017 Texans)
  • Patrick Mahomes (2017 Chiefs)
  • Mitchell Trubisky (2017 Bears)
  • Lamar Jackson (2018 Ravens)
  • Josh Rosen (2018 Cardinals)
  • Josh Allen (2018 Bills)
  • Sam Darnold (2018 Jets)
  • Jordan Love (2020 Packers)
  • Trey Lance (2021 49ers)
  • Justin Fields (2021 Bears)

Seven of the 13 players are no longer with their original team, and three of the players that are with the team that picked them were drafted within the past three years. Of course, the 2017 Chiefs and 2018 Bills are making these trades 100 times out of 100.

That said, there are just as many examples of these QBs busting out of the NFL as there are players that panned out. Given this, and some later round picks that have panned out (see Davis Mills), it makes sense why the Vikings wouldn’t go all-in on a prospect, especially this year.

2023 NFL Draft

Certainly, the 2023 NFL Draft class is not void of QB talent like the 2022 Draft (though Bailey Zappe may have been the steal of the draft). There are talented prospects from CJ Stroud and Bryce Young down to Jalon Hall and Will Levis. That said, there still isn’t that “surefire” prospect, at least in my eyes, at the position that we’ve seen in years past like Joe Burrow in 2020 or Trevor Lawrence in 2021.

During my early season mock draft, I gave the Vikings Anthony Richardson out of Florida because of his skillset as a dual-threat passer. However, as the college football season has worn on, it’s starting to seem more likely that he returns to Florida for his senior season rather than get picked in the first round of the 2023 Draft.

With that in mind, it seems silly for the Vikings to push for a QB with their first-round pick unless there’s a player that Kevin O’Connell is absolutely certain that he can mold into his system. If the next Davis Mills or Bailey Zappe is out there (keep an eye on Cameron Ward out of Washington State), why rush into selecting a QB with an early draft pick this year?

Another Offseason Cousins Extension?

And that gets me to the ultimate point of this extensive argument. As long as the Vikings keep winning games, and Kirk Cousins doesn’t fall on his flat on his face over the next 11 games, it makes sense to extend him again, right?

Cousins has a no-trade clause on his contract this offseason, meaning he is going to be in a Vikings uniform during 2023 no matter what: he and his $36.25 million cap hit. Cousins has also stated that he prefers to retire a Minnesota Viking, no matter how much that may make some fans cringe.

The Vikings are projected to have just $4.7 million next offseason to spend, per Over the Cap. Reminder: the Vikings have to pay Justin Jefferson this upcoming winter in a wide receiver market that is only growing more lucrative by the year.

Another Cousins extension eases the salary cap constraints and gets the 34-year-old QB closer to that goal of retiring as a Viking. If the Kevin O’Connell/Kirk Cousins tandem earns a playoff run for Minnesota in year one, that should be enough to warrant an extra year or two of Cousins at QB while the Vikings search for a future QB.

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.