Minnesota Vikings trade fodder surrounding Kirk Cousins began in the shadows when the franchise stumbled to a 1-5 win-loss record in 2020. Some folks even speculated that the Vikings would institute a self-imposed “tank” in efforts to draft a coveted rookie quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. For the most part, those tank-related rumblings died off when Minnesota won four consecutive games after the Week 7 bye.
Flash forward to the autopsy of a disappointing 7-9 season, and the trade droplets trickled once again. A couple of analysts not nationally accredited implied Cousins was subject of trade talks involving the San Francisco 49ers. Those analysts had blue checkmarks on their respective Twitter profiles, so the trade-Cousins stuff incinerated VikingVille.
Now, the rumors ebb and flow. When head coach Mike Zimmer verbally committed to Cousins early this month, some trade-Cousins truthers went silent. But the general sentiment lingered — and reignited when Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and Carson Wentz was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts.
Minnesota re-upped with a Kubiak at offensive coordinator after Father Kubiak, Gary, retired in January. His name is Klint Kubiak and is the son of Gary. He was hired to instill continuity within the Vikings offense in 2021 – something that has eluded the organization as it has hosted six offensive coordinators in eight seasons.
The trade talk in Cousins’ orbit is moderate as of now. On a scale of 1 to 10 on Cousins-goes-elsewhere realism, things are probably sitting around a 3.
These are the voices that have given credibility to the hearsay. And to be clear – none of the entities listed are “wrong” for doing so. Consider this an answer to: “Why is the Cousins trade stuff still out there?”
Peter King, NBC Sports
Peter King is the most recent and arguably the most renowned voice that sends Cousins to a team not named Vikings. He finds a pathway for Minnesota to acquire the highly-touted Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. Watson has been crystal-clear that he wants the hell out of Houston. Among other teams inside King’s analysis, the Vikings are a potential destination.
On the theoretical trade, King wrote:
“The Vikings send quarterback Kirk Cousins to San Francisco. The Niners send Garoppolo to Houston, if, of course, he’d waive his no-trade. The Texans send Watson to Minnesota. In return: the Niners send their first-round pick in 2021 (12th overall) to Houston, and they’re out. (So San Francisco would be trading Garoppolo and a one to Houston and getting Cousins with two years left on his contract.) The Vikings would send linebacker Anthony Barr and running back Alexander Mattison plus their first-round picks in 2021 (14th overall) and 2023, and second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 in exchange for Watson. Houston’s haul: Garoppolo, two ones this year, a one in 2023, and two second-round picks.”
This is a colossal sum to pay for one player – no matter the stardom. But when King scribbles it on the internet, it is real. People listen.
Courtney Cronin, ESPN (via “Bold Prediction”)
In unadulterated fairness to Cronin, she spitballs a Cousins trade as a bold prediction. The nature of a bold prediction in sports journalism is to prognosticate something vivacious and plausible. A bold prediction is not necessarily gospel for future events.
In the body of a broadly-themed NFL piece on leaguewide bold predictions, Cronin mentioned a Cousins trade:
“If Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers really want Kirk Cousins, now’s the time for Minnesota to pull off a trade that will create freedom to reconstruct other parts of the roster. The Vikings could get out of the financial commitment they made to Cousins when he signed a two-year extension last March that comes with a $31 million cap hit for 2021 and go a different direction at the position. If that comes in the form of Jimmy Garoppolo and a second-round pick (they currently don’t have one), the Vikings should jump at the opportunity.”
Therefore, do not perceive this as Cronin’s almighty hypothesis that the Vikings will have a different QB1 in 2021. Instead, file it under “here is how that would play out if it does happen.”
Nevertheless, eyeballs fixated on her musings because she is a stellar, trustworthy Vikings reporter for ESPN.
The only proof needed for SKOR North and why Cousins trade chatter has legs is a brief glance at the company’s Twitter feed. More often than any other Vikings-themed entity – SKOR North slings Cousins trade speculation. It is generally designed for engagement and “what if” guesswork. It must be profitable because the folks at SKOR North have these conversations more than anyone.
No voice within the Vikings organization has expressed any desire to send Kirk Cousins to another NFL team. The material available in print, on the web, and via radio pertaining to a Cousins trade is conjectural.
Keep that in mind when the next round hits.