3 High-Profile Veteran QBs Linked to Vikings

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) hug following the Dolphins loss at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 4, 2020. © Allen Eyestone via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 2024 offseason did not start quietly, at least not regarding the rumor mill.

Minnesota must decide on soon-to-be-free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins’ status in the next eight weeks, and if he is not re-signed, well, the Vikings will need a new quarterback for the first time in seven years.

3 High-Profile Veteran QBs Linked to Vikings

And according to a handful of budding theories, three high-profile quarterbacks could be in line for the gig via trade or free-agent signing.

January 10th, 2024. Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center concluding the 2023 NFL regular season. Minnesota finished 7-10 in 2023 and missed the postseason.

These are those men.

1. Justin Fields

Veteran QBs Linked
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

On the whole, it’s not terribly realistic for the Vikings to end up with Fields as QB1 in 2024. He’s currently employed by Minnesota’s second-foremost foe, the Bears, and Chicago sending him to Minnesota is a longshot.

But don’t tell that to one Illinois sportsbook.

Illinois Bet published odds last week, “Overall, the Falcons come in at +475 to land Fields via a trade, beating out the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders (at +900 apiece). The Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers follow, tied at +1200. There’s also a 40% (+150) chance that Fields and the Bears ink a long-term extension.”

Here’s a clean look at the theoretical odds if Fields ventures to a new team:

  • Atlanta Falcons (+475)
  • New England Patriots (+900)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (+900)
  • Denver Broncos (+1200)
  • Minnesota Vikings (+1200)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (+1200)
  • Other/Stay with Bears (+150)

Bears general manager Ryan Poles said last week about the team’s impending choice about trading Fields or choosing a new quarterback with the 1st overall pick, “I’ve got to stay open-minded about it. Not to use the same quote, but when I say, ‘I need to be blown away,’ it’s the same setup because seeing the things that Justin did this year, his ability to make plays … keeping his eyes down the field, taking less sacks, you see a lot of growth there where he can continue to get better. So I’ll have the same mindset.”

The theory is this, summarized: If the Bears indeed draft Caleb Williams from USC, Fields can’t really stick around, and some team will trade for his services. Oddsmakers believe that could be Minnesota.

2. Tua Tagovailoa

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic also ripped through the Vikings rumor mill this week, connecting Kirk Cousins to Miami and seeming to imply that Tua Tagovailoa could end up as a Viking.

Quoting an anonymous NFL executive, The Athletic’s Mike Sando wrote this week, “Your upside with Tua certainly seems limited. So let’s say you can trade him. I would be exploring, ‘OK, Tua, we can win games with, probably not winning a championship with. Kirk Cousins, we can win games with, probably not winning a championship with. But our resources are better spent on Cousins plus draft picks than they are on just Tua.”

Tagovailoa is due for an extension, like Cousins, but his team’s performance versus winning teams in 2023 was quite concerning.

Sando also mentioned, “Put Tagovailoa on the Falcons and Atlanta could have the best quarterback in the division. The Vikings would need a quarterback if Cousins departed. Could the Rams be interested if Matthew Stafford retired? Trading Tagovailoa for Stafford would be even better if the right set of circumstances made it feasible.”

The Dolphins passer ranked second leaguewide per DVOA in 2023 and fourth in EPA+CPOE.

Sando again quoted an NFL exec, “If you could get a 2 and a 3 for Tua and sign Kirk, I’d want to make sure I felt comfortable about having him for three years from a health standpoint. I do think Tua works much better in a domed stadium where you know half your games are played in pristine conditions.”

Like Fields above, Tagovailoa to Minnesota or Cousins to Miami are unlikely, but the world is thinking about both scenarios.

3. Russell Wilson

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson and the Denver Broncos seem on the verge of complete divorce after the veteran passer was benched down the stretch of the regular season in favor of Jarrett Stidham. Furnished with abundant cashflow earned in Denver, Wilson could sign for cheap at his next destination — and ESPN believes that new NFL home could be the Vikings.

Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Vikings cannot be ruled out of the budding Wilson Sweepstakes. “League sources see several logical fits for Wilson, who could thrive in an offense that schemes clearly defined throws off play-action and the running game. Don’t be surprised if Wilson, should he become a free agent, is intrigued by Minnesota, assuming Kirk Cousins doesn’t re-sign with the Vikings (a big if),” Fowler wrote Tuesday.

This one might be the most realistic of the three options, mainly because Minnesota could refuse to pay Cousins top dollar, sign Wilson for mere pennies, and then draft a rookie quarterback to pair with Wilson in 2024.

Otherwise, the most likely Vikings’ quarterback outcome in 2024 is re-signing Cousins for a year or two while also drafting his successor.

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.