ESPN Dials Back Vikings Trade Rhetoric

The Vikings Top Defensive Performers vs. Lions, per PFF
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings players and fans awoke on Monday morning, October 9th, to every trade rumor imaginable. The club held a 1-4 record after losing at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, going nowhere fast, with Justin Jefferson about to hit injured reserve.

ESPN Dials Back Vikings Trade Rhetoric

Primarily, quarterback Kirk Cousins and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter were bees-to-honey for trade rumors, although Cousins owned a no-trade clause, and Hunter was one of the most productive defenders in the sport. Still, NFL talking heads and some Vikings fans began to believe the franchise would hold a “fire sale” when the October 31st trade deadline rolled around.

Lottery Ticket QB
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

But all of that hullabaloo was probably premature.

Minnesota won its next two games, surviving-and-advancing an ugly tryst with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field and shockingly knocking off the San Francisco 49ers two nights ago. Now, the NFL’s rumor machine has quieted regarding Cousins and Hunter, likely because the Vikings have a 56% of reaching the postseason, a probability that seemed laughable two weeks ago.

ESPN Dials Back Vikings Trade Rhetoric
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ESPN dialed back the Hunter trade rhetoric this week, realizing the oft-mentioned fire sale probably wasn’t coming to fruition. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano sized up the trade rumor mill after Week 7, and the buzz on Hunter dulled.

“The Vikings upset the 49ers on Monday night to improve to 3-4, and my sense of things is that this means they’re not going to be sellers. They’re two games out of first place in a division they won last year, and I don’t think they’re up for trading their best pass-rusher,” Graziano said on Wednesday.

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Fowler added about Hunter-trade fodder, “The Vikings are already without Marcus Davenport at the edge rusher spot due to injury, so trading Hunter leaves the proverbial cupboard extremely bare. At least with Washington, the defensive line trio of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Josh Sweat could offset the loss of Chase Young.”

Meanwhile, before the Vikings two-game winning streak kicked off, Cousins squashed trade rumors all by himself. On October 11th, reporters asked Cousins if he’d contemplate waiving his no-trade clause with the Vikings at 1-4, and he replied, “I’m just very focused on the Bears and going 1-0 this week. Anything else is just not worth my time or energy or attention.”

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter chimed in a few days later, “Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell does not want to move on from the quarterback that led his team to an NFC North title last season. Cousins is comfortable in Minnesota, with his family settled there, and is not looking to move on. Cousins also is known to prefer to have a firm grasp on his offense and a longstanding comfort level with his wide receivers, and he would not have that with most NFL teams looking for a midseason trade.”

Ergo, all the Hunter + Cousins trade rumors were likely all for naught, and the Vikings might even become buyers, not sellers, on the trade market by Halloween.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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