This offseason has been bespeckled by trade rumors for the Minnesota Vikings with almost all of them pertaining to quarterback Kirk Cousins. So far, he’s been the topic of phantom deals to the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and even the Chicago Bears for a minute.
February is slow for tangible offseason activities, although big-name signal-callers like Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz were traded in recent weeks. The last real bit of news for the Vikings was the promotion of Klint Kubiak to offensive coordinator. His father retired from the job in January, so his son took over to infuse continuity into the offense.
The Cousins trade chatter ebbs and flows and has quieted over the last couple of days. But that doesn’t meet all Vikings personnel is off-limits.
Adam Thielen is the next player to join the speculation.
Heavy.com reported that the Baltimore Ravens have a keen interest in Thielen. On the matter, writer Max DeMara stated:
“Adding Thielen to the mix would give the Ravens the type of down-field threat the team could crave in order to turn things around on the offensive side of the ball. Depending on compensation, it could be just the move the Ravens need in order to get things turned around this offseason. It was a struggle at times for the Ravens last year passing the ball, so Thielen could be a good player to jump-start things.”
Of course, just because a certain team believes a player would be an ideal fit on its roster – does not mean the player is available for trade. It’s true Thielen would be a phenomenal fit on a WR-starved Ravens team, but the 30-year-old Minnesota State alumnus is quite valuable to the Vikings offense.
Baltimore Wanted Ravens in Ngakoue Trade
This narrative was borne in reality, believe it or not. The Ravens wanted Thielen last autumn. The Vikings were 1-5, aimless, and shopping at least one player. And that was defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. He was ultimately traded to the – you guessed it – Baltimore Ravens. Minnesota received a 3rd-Round draft choice in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ngakoue is now an unrestricted free agent.
Amid the trade talks per the Heavy article, the Ravens snooped around the possibility of acquiring Thielen and tight end Irv Smith Jr. Baltimore. Ravens management evidently believed the Vikings were in full fire-sale mode – an event that never unfolded.
The Ravens settled on acquiring wide receiver Dez Bryant for their pass-catching needs and later lost in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Buffalo Bills.
Transaction Would Have Diggs Feel
If the trade did go through – a longshot – it would have a Stefon Diggs feel to it. Not because of Thielen-based disgruntlement – but the nature of the Ravens current roster. They need a wide receiver. On the team now, Baltimore employs Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Devin Duvernay, and Dez Bryant. This is a serviceable crew but would probably rank near the bottom of the league for stardom.
Thielen – like Diggs did for the Bills – would add instant reliability to the team’s pass-catching wishlist. The top assets of Thielen’s repertoire are hands and route-running. 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson could stand to host another receiver that is target-heavy like Thielen.
Diggs was never quite as beloved as Thielen in Minnesota. Yet, the variance is not too vast. Folks never believed that the Vikings would trade Diggs – until they did. Ergo, nothing is impossible when the “business side” of football is in play.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Trading Cousins was never very realistic because the Vikings would swallow a large cap hit and then presumably be back to underwhelming quarterback production. Cousins may not be broadly loved – even by Vikings fans – but he does offer 4,000+ passing yards and 30+ touchdown passes per season. He is a bastion of season-to-season consistency.
It is actually more likely that Thielen would be traded than Cousins. But neither scenario is very probable. Nevertheless, it is simpler to replace a wideout than a quarterback. The Vikings showed how “easy” it can be to find another productive pass-catcher when the team drafted Justin Jefferson in the 2020 NFL Draft. He tallied 1,400 receiving yards in his first season – an NFL record for rookies.
Don’t hold your breath. This is just a circumstance of a team like the Ravens that would enjoy the services of a Vikings player. Thielen has never been made for sale publicly. Ever.