Crucial Context Lies Beneath the Russell Wilson-Vikings Rumors

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) reacts after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday morning, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN published an article going over the Russell Wilson saga in Denver and what could lie ahead for the veteran QB.

It is widely expected that the Broncos will release Wilson after they benched him down the stretch of the season. As a result, the QB will be in search of a new team when free agency rolls around. Within his article, Fowler wrote the following, which inevitably sent Vikings Twitter swirling into a debate:

Don’t be surprised if Wilson, should he become a free agent, is intrigued by Minnesota, assuming Kirk Cousins doesn’t re-sign with the Vikings (a big question). Kevin O’Connell comes from the Sean McVay passing tree that maximizes quarterback efficiency. Wilson would have plenty of weapons in a group that includes Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison.

While many have taken this as a chance to debate Cousins vs. Wilson in the aftermath of this article’s publication, crucial context must be taken into account when looking at these suggestions.

Crucial Context Behind the Russell Wilson-Vikings Rumors

Crucial Context
Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost, it must be recognized that there is nothing here suggesting that the Vikings are going to pursue Wilson. Fowler suggests that the QB would be intrigued by Minnesota, but there is no mention that the Vikings themselves would be interested in such a union.

Heading into his age-36 season, Wilson has seen some pretty noticeable decline in his play over the past couple years, and now that he is heading to free agency, the quarterback must put out feelers for teams across the league that he is still capable and motivated to play at a high level. Any reports both now and in the future regarding a Wilson connection to Minnesota should be viewed as simple due diligence and smart business from Wilson as he tries to land a new contract.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Wilson would be intrigued by the Vikings, either. Minnesota has often been suggested as a landing spot for a quarterback in the upcoming draft because of all their stars on the offensive side of the ball along with the uncertainty of Cousins’ free agency.

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Just like the Vikings are an intriguing landing spot for a rookie quarterback, what veteran QB trying to revitalize their career wouldn’t be interested in joining this team?

Darren Wolfson of KSTP provided further context on Tuesday evening by tweeting, “‘Don’t be surprised if __________ is intrigued by Minnesota’ literally applies to any QB that will be available. Everyone sees KOC, JJ, Addison, TJ, elite tackles, as a want to go to destination.”

This article could have been written about a QB like Joe Flacco, Baker Mayfield, or Ryan Tannehill, and the point still stands: Minnesota is a perfect situation for quarterbacks to thrive. Anyone looking to play NFL football at the quarterback position in 2024 should have the Vikings on their list of destinations even if it is only a pipe dream.

Nov 13, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) rolls out looking to pass the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if the Vikings ended up being interested in bringing in Wilson, they wouldn’t be swapping out a $40 million/per year contract for Cousins with a $40 million/per year contract for Wilson.

Fowler suggests towards the end of his article that it is highly unlikely Wilson will get top money on the market.

“And as several league execs pointed out to me, Wilson won’t command anything close to that $39 million from a new team,” the analyst wrote.

In fact, Fowler suggested that if Wilson is released in March, he could sign a league minimum contract with another team while sticking Denver with almost all of his $39 million salary for the 2024 season. The Vikings wouldn’t be taking a massive financial risk by signing him, nor should they.

In the end, signing Wilson would be a “break glass in case of emergency” situation for the Vikings. It would only happen if 1) Cousins were to leave in free agency, and 2) Minnesota was not convinced that they would be able to land a potential franchise QB in this spring’s draft.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.