Jets, 49ers Remain Targets of Vikings Trade Theories

Is Dalvin Cook
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Trade rumors involving Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith have quieted in recent weeks, but most Minnesota Vikings fans believe one or both men will be traded in the coming weeks or months.

The speculation surrounding a Kirk Cousins trade has died down after the club converted a large chuck of his 2023 salary to 2024+ dead cap hit. Still, the Cousins-to-somewhere-else theories remain because his contract ends after 2023, and most franchise quarterbacks don’t play on the final year of their deals.

Jets, 49ers Remain Targets of Vikings Trade Theories

SBNation opined on the Cousins rumor mill this week, and unsurprisingly, the San Francisco 49es were mentioned, with a side dish of the New York Jets.

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SBNation’s James Dator wrote about Cousins and the 49ers, “So let’s start with the 49ers, because that’s where these rumors began […] The 49ers unquestionably have the best defense in the NFL. They have offensive weapons to get the job done. They even have a potential QB waiting in the wings, depending on how much you believe in Brock Purdy.”

A 49ers trade with the Vikings for Cousins has been rumored in the shadows for about four straight offseasons.

“Cousins slots in perfectly here and could legitimately be the positional upgrade needed to win a championship in San Francisco. It allows for Purdy to recover and develop for a year or two, then turn the reins back over to him. Trey Lance is the wildcard here, and on paper provides a lot of interest for Minnesota,” Dator added about the 49ers part of his hypothesis.

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Dator then pivoted to the Jets as possible trading partners for Cousins, “Meanwhile the Jets are a team who shouldn’t be slept on. New York pushed all their chips to the middle in this gambit for Aaron Rodgers, and right now things aren’t going well. The sides can’t agree on compensation, with the Packers knowing they’re in the power position right now.”

The Jets and Packers have flirted with a Rodgers trade for over a month.

“It’s resulted in the Jets missing out on any potential free agent QB, and building an entire roster to win now, without the passer to show for it. Settling for Cousins after being all-in on Rodgers is settling to the highest degree. Still, it might be the best the Jets have to hope for if a trade with Green Bay goes belly up,” Dator concluded.

49ers Remain Targets
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The San Francisco idea suggests the Vikings would hop into bed with Lance in 2023, which feels like a longshot because of his injury resume. Lance is from Minnesota, though, so there’s a subtle connection.

On the Jets, well, the Vikings could deal Cousins to the Big Apple and likely acquire an impressive draft asset — that would then be used to trade up this year’s draftboard for a C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. This would have to be the plan for the Vikings because they won’t start the maligned Zach Wilson as a trade piece, nor would Nick Mullens climb to QB1.

Like most Cousins trade fodder, the likelihood is slim unless the Vikings are totally enamored with a draft prospect and want to start that man in Year 1.

Otherwise, the franchise has a golden opportunity to draft a quarterback of their choosing in two weeks, stay committed to Cousins for one more season, and then hand the keys to the 2023 rookie in 2024.

The Vikings haven’t traded away a starting-caliber quarterback in 24 years — Brad Johnson to the Washington Commanders in 1999.


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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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

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