Kyle Rudolph Claims Vikings Should Explore Trading QB1

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

From the very moment the NFL world began to realize that Aaron Rodgers’ Monday Night Football injury in Week 1 was grim, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was linked to the New York Jets.

Then, the Vikings lost in Week 2, and the chatter really heated up.

Kyle Rudolph Claims Vikings Should Explore Trading QB1

ESPN, and Mike Greenberg, a Jets fan, in particular, have led the charge, suggesting that Minnesota should offload Cousins to New York, as the purple team’s season is now one Sunday away from irrelevance. The Vikings (0-2) host the Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) this weekend, and the loser will face mathematical hell in even thinking about reaching the postseason.

Kyle Rudolph Claims
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

And aside from the usual media players like ESPN and Bleacher Report nibbling at Cousins-to-Jets, a former Viking stepped up to the plate on Sunday to claim Minnesota should indeed explore a Cousins trade to New York.

That man is Kyle Rudolph, and he played for the Vikings from 2011 to 2020.

Oct 20, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Rudolph explained on Fox Sports Radio, “The Vikings have a really good shot at getting back to 2-2. So I don’t think the Vikings can look at this season and say, ‘Oh, it’s over, let’s give up, we’ll trade our quarterback.’ But it’s where are you going? What are you doing? What’s the plan? Kirk Cousins is a quarterback, where he’s in the last year of his contract. The Vikings haven’t extended him.”

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah held off on adding more years onto Cousins’ deal this offseason, a tactic amid his competitive rebuild plan for the franchise.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball in the first half against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

“So, why haven’t you extended him? Does he want more money, or do you not want to keep him? So, to me, I just think there’s a lot to uncover here, and if I’m the Jets, it’s a phone call that you have to make, to at least find out. And if you’re the Vikings, I think it’s a phone call that you have to take,” Rudolph added.

Minnesota is unlikely to trade Cousins anywhere after two or three games of the regular season but might entertain the idea if its record was in the toilet around the NFL’s trade deadline in seven weeks.

Kyle Rudolph Chooses the NFC's Super Bowl Frontrunner
Nov 17, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) looks on before the start of a game against the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

For example, if the Vikings owned a 1-7 record [or so] near the end of October, sending Cousins to a new team might make sense, as the season would be utterly lost, and Minnesota could vie for a high-round quarterback in April’s draft. Until then, though, it’s safe to assume that the Vikings ownership, general manager, coaching staff, and players believe the season is salvageable.

Rudolph grabbed 453 receptions for 4,488 yards and 49 touchdowns, nominating him as one of the Vikings best draft picks of the decade. He also caught the pass that walked off the New Orleans Saints in the 2019 postseason.

The longtime Viking retired a few weeks ago and now works as a Big 10 analyst for Peacock and co-hosts the aforementioned show on Fox Sports.

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