Purple Rumor Mill: Anthony Richardson Realism, Releases Not Trades, the Cousins Trade Paradox

Ignite QB Frenzy
Oct 15, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) looks on against the LSU Tigers during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the April 23rd edition, the pre-draft edition, Vol. 2 of 2.

Purple Rumor Mill: Anthony Richardson Realism, Releases Not Trades, the Cousins Trade Paradox

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: The Vikings could realistically trade up to pick No. 10 and draft Anthony Richardson on Thursday night.

Richardson Realism
Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (QB11) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Foremost, this rumor is real.

And the only way it has a chance of panning out is because of Ricahrdson’s collegiate inaccuracy. Minnesota acquiring Richardson was mentioned by NFL.com’s Chad Reuter on Friday via mock draft, “GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has not been shy about trading draft picks since taking on the job last year. Richardson’s potential as a dual-threat playmaker validates the hefty price Minnesota pays to jump up the board: the 23rd overall pick, a 2023 third-rounder (No. 87), and a 2024 first-rounder.”

Richardson’s a physical freak, possessing more of an EDGE rusher body and magnitude of athleticism than a quarterback. We shall see if Richardson plunges the board all the way to No. 10. Unlikely.

Rumor: Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith are more likely to be released than traded.

Well, Look Who's Leading the NFL in Pro Bowl Voting.
Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) look on during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said last week on SportsCenter, “I’m told all options are on the table here and that he could be released closer to the draft if things don’t work out. They had talked to at least one team about a trade in the past closer to free agency, so he is certainly a name to watch.”

Four days before the draft, a release of Cook feels slightly more likely than a trade. Cook has a large contract, which may deter teams from pulling off a trade.

Za’Darius Smith is more mysterious. He tweeted goodbye to Vikings fans over six weeks ago and is still on the roster. A trade is still likely for his services, perhaps a Day-3 pick in the draft.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins may eventually join the San Francisco 49ers and win a Super Bowl there — but not here.

These Vikings Are Designed
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Adam Thielen (not pictured) during the fourth against the Indianapolis Colts quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Somehow this mentality is a thing — Cousins won’t be able to win a Super Bowl with the Vikings, but most would assume he’ll probably get the job done in San Francisco.

What a strange paradox.

If 2023 is indeed Cousins’ final season in purple, yes, he’ll probably travel to the 49ers in free agency next March. There, San Francisco would boast fancy Vegas odds to win a championship.

Rather than Vikings fans hoping Cousins could do that in Minnesota via endorsing roster construction like San Francisco’s, it’s a “let him win one out there” mindset. What a defeatist attitude. One admits Cousins can win a Super Bowl — just not here.

Minnesota could also trade Cousins this year, but the deal would have to be done after June 1st due to the Vikings salary cap penalties and constraints.

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.