Purple Baker Mayfield Theories Remain

Mayfield to Vikings
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what, the Minnesota Vikings are committed to Kirk Cousins for $28.5 million in 2024 or beyond. Moving his previously-paid money onto this year’s cap was an elective measure by the club’s front office last offseason.

Purple Baker Mayfield Theories Remain

And if Cousins departs next week via free agency, the $28.5 million would solidify against the books, and that would be the last remnant of Cousins’ deal on the Vikings’ ledger.

So, how should the Vikings embark on life after Cousins if they reach that point in the coming days? Get into bed with Baker Mayfield for $30-$40 million — that’s the theory for some.

Purple Baker
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler connected Minnesota to the Mayfield Sweepstakes last weekend because, like Cousins, Mayfield is on tap to test the open market next week if his 2024 employer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, doesn’t re-sign him.

Fowler set the table for Mayfield’s free agency, “While Mayfield and the Buccaneers continue to discuss a potential long-term deal, the veteran QB will have interest outside of Tampa Bay. He has familiarity with Atlanta with new coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson, who were with him during a short stint with the Rams. While the Falcons have been rumored to be paired with other available quarterbacks, that list can be fluid.”

Most believe Mayfield will re-up in Tampa, but until that’s official, his would-be whereabouts are speculative.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Fowler then mentioned the Vikings as a possible suitor, “One more thought: While Cousins is undoubtedly the top option should he leave Minnesota, Mayfield is clearly the No. 2 free agent passer. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Vikings got involved should Cousins leave.”

This isn’t the first time Mayfield has been theorized for the Vikings.

SI.com’s Will Ragatz wrote on January 25th 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.”

Mayfield in Purple
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

Two weeks ago, Bleacher Report, too, sized up five possible free-agent destinations for Mayfield, and lo and behold, Minnesota made the list. BR’s Alex Kay wrote about the possibility of Mayfield to the Vikings, “With Cousins hitting the open market at the age of 35 after his 2023 campaign was cut short with a torn Achilles tendon, Minnesota’s brass should think twice before offering the aging passer any sort of contract extension—especially one in the $40 million per year neighborhood. Rather than paying Cousins top dollar for flashy regular season numbers and inevitable playoff disappointments, the Vikings should instead consider Baker Mayfield for the job.”

While Mayfield in Minnesota could make some sense, it’s probably wisest for the Vikings just to re-sign Cousins if they don’t prefer the rookie quarterback route. Why change from Mayfield to Cousins? Spend the extra dinero on Cousins if Mayfield is on the table.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield chats with tight end Harrison Bryant before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland. © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Free agency’s “legal tampering” begins on March 11th.

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.