Despite the fact that the NFL post-season is still in full-swing, the Minnesota Vikings off-season has already reached peak off-season in terms of all of the hypothetical articles/takes floating around the Vikesgeist. That has lead to people speculating that the cash strapped Vikings may trade away quarterback Kirk Cousins, edge rusher Danielle Hunter, the first-and-third round pick and the naming rights to every first born son in the state of Minnesota to Houston for DeShaun Watson.
Yeah, not gonna happen. Although, “Don’t Mess with Gunderson go to your room’” or “You are grounded Tex Oil Rig Larsen”does have a ring to it.
That having been said, not every “Trade Cousins” take is equally worthless. Case in point, the recent connection of Cousins to Indianapolis, a team that was perhaps a pre-halftime field goal away from upsetting the Buffalo Bills this post-season.
Colts quarterback Philip Rivers announced his retirement this week and with the Colts’ salary cap being around $60 million under the cap, they could theoretically afford Cousins and a few key free agents to bolster their Super Bowl aspirations.
I’d typically turn this down, as the Vikings are more aware than any franchise that finding good and consistent quarterback play is incredibly hard to find. However, with the reported COVID-cap being $180 million for the 2021 season?
The Vikings may HAVE to trade Cousins, especially if he doesn’t want to restructure a deal that’ll bring him in at exactly 25% of the entire team’s cap space in 2022 (if the cap is again $180 million). When you add the deal that Dalvin Cook worked out before the season? That’s nearly a third of your cap tied up into two people.
The question would then become who the Vikings would replace Cousins with, something that should strike fear into the hearts of every Vikings fan as we haven’t had consistent sub-49 year old QB play since Daunte Culpepper. But, again, this move would essentially be done to the Vikings for financial reasons, not because it’s part of some larger team building strategy.
Regardless of what Cousins’ compensation would wrought, which would be greatly diminished due to Cousins contract, this would be a crushing blow for a Vikings team that had one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2020 despite it’s risk averse philosophy.
Sure, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford may be available as free agents, but they’d cost a pretty penny as well (the latter more than the former). That’d leave the NFL Draft, which the Vikings already bungled by winning a slew of meaningless games.
There was a point when fans were pushing the #TankforTrevor narrative. Now? It’s a #JustDontTradeDownfor7thRoundPicks or #IGuessWeWillHavetoHopethe5thBestQBisOkay movement.
I’m sure Cousins will restructure his deal, though, as he clearly has shown money isn’t everything to him by spurning a larger contract from the Jets to come to Minnesota in the first-place.
He did, though, say in the NFL documentary surrounding his free agency that he wants to find a balance between the opportunity to win and the opportunity for money as, and I’m paraphrasing here, “You never want to look back when you’re retired and think you left money on the table”.
I don’t think this will happen, but anything is possible.
Remember the Alamo Johnson