Patriots QB Should Be a ‘No Thanks’ for Vikings Fans

The New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in a second half huddle. © Kris Craig/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK.

He looked like a God among men against the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving night — but who didn’t in 2022?

Indeed, Mac Jones played better than Tom Brady on that Turkey Day night, and the Vikings somehow won thanks to a nifty kick return touchdown by speed merchant Kene Nwangwu.

Patriots QB Should Be a ‘No Thanks’ for Vikings Fans

Fast forward 4.5 months, and Jones may enter the trade rumor mill as some have indicated New England has become disillusioned with the 24-year-old.

Patriots QB Should
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This week, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Bill Belichick could be shifting gears regarding Jones. “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Belichick has shopped Jones to multiple teams during the 2023 offseason. The full list of potential destinations isn’t known. The teams mentioned as potential destinations were the Raiders, Texans, Buccaneers, and Commanders,” Florio wrote.

“Obviously, a trade hasn’t occurred yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. A team hoping to draft a quarterback could pivot to Jones, if that team doesn’t get the guy it wants. The Raiders are the ones to keep watching. Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract lands in the low-end of middle class for starters, and Jones has two years left under a slotted rookie deal, before his fifth-year option would apply,” Florio continued.

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How on earth does this affect the Vikings? Simple — they’re one of the few teams employing a productive QB1 on the final year of his contract. In March, Vikings boss Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opted not to extend Kirk Cousins’ contract beyond 2023, at least for now, casting his long-term future with the club into doubt. Cousins will turn 35 this summer, a tender age historically when some passers begin to decline. Few — outside of Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers — get better.

Ergo, if the Vikings aren’t wholly committed to Cousins, sending the man to New England with Belichick would make sense. Belichick isn’t young, is allegedly fed up with Jones, and presumably wants to win now before he retires. Cousins would provide New England with a reasonable chance to contend in the robust AFC playoff field.

Think: Belichick’s eternally good defense + Cousins guaranteed 30+ touchdowns per year.

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Of course, any Cousins-related trade talks are unlikely at the moment because the Vikings likely would’ve pulled the trigger by now. However, the NFL draft can and does get funky, so a Cousins trade to somewhere cannot be totally ruled out.

Jones dimed 22 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions as a rookie in 2021, earned a Pro Bowl nod, and finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. He was trending upward. Then, 2022 arrived, Jones fired up a meager 14 touchdown passes, often appeared disgruntled on the Patriots sidelines — probably why Belichick isn’t enamored with him — and finished 27th in quarterback DVOA. Call it an honest-to-goodness sophomore slump.

The man wasn’t very good with Belichick as a mentor and was grumpy along the way — not a good mix.

Vikings Look to Rebound on Thanksgiving against Patriots
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If the Patriots were interested in Cousins and Adofo-Mensah picked up the phone, the Vikings should avoid onboarding Jones as “the next guy.” The team should keep Cousins or explore the 2023 or 2024 draft for the next chapter at quarterback.

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).

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