There’s Enthusiasm for Baker Mayfield to Vikings. But No Thanks.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Via Reddit boards, YouTube fodder, and even Sports Illustrated, Baker Mayfield possibly joining the Minnesota Vikings as a patchover quarterback surfaced this week.

There’s Enthusiasm for Baker Mayfield to Vikings. But No Thanks.

Minnesota’s offseason began about three weeks ago, and since, nearly every popular veteran quarterback has been at least sideways linked to the Vikings. Russell Wilson, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields are frequent inhabitants of the rumor mill.

Mayfield to Vikings
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But on Mayfield specifically, the idea just doesn’t add up. The soon-to-be Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agent led his team to the postseason’s Divisional Round and dimed over 4,000 passing yards with 28 touchdowns and 10 picks. For Mayfield, that’s wonderful — a springboard to a next contract.

But that doesn’t mean the Vikings have to sign him as bridge quarterback.

SI.com’s Will Ragatz wrote this week about Mayfield and the Vikings, “He threw for over 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and ten picks, earning a spot as a finalist for the comeback player of the year award. Now that Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales has been hired as Carolina’s head coach, Mayfield seems likely to head elsewhere in free agency. He might be rather interested in playing under Kevin O’Connell and throwing to the Vikings’ weapons.”

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Because Daniel Jones set the market for average-to-decent quarterbacks last offseason, Mayfield will fetch about $28-$40 million annually per his next contract. The Vikings are already on the hook for $28.5 million in dead cap funds thanks to restructuring Kirk Cousins’ contract last year. That money has already been paid to Cousins and will now be reflected in the Vikings’ budget in 2024. It’s not a down payment for future performance; it’s finishing the bill from his last contract. Accounting for $28.5 million in dead Cousins cap, plus adding a cool $35 million for Mayfield, seems downright foolish.

Moreover, if Minnesota wants quarterback performance on par or better than Mayfield’s, well, it will simply re-sign Cousins. That’s how this works.

Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

And if the Vikings don’t want an expensive quarterback whatsoever, that’s what the 11th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is for.

The purple team is more than overdue to draft a rookie quarterback and watch that man succeed. Handing out multiple stacks of cash to veteran passers — dead money or otherwise — is more of the same.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings should either recommit to Cousins if they feel they can win a Super Bowl with him or start the clock on the next guy. Any involvement with Mayfield would further complicate an already mysterious offseason quarterback predicament.


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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