Rumor Mill Won’t Stop Connecting Vikings to This Man

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Even though it doesn’t make much sense for a team deciding on a would-be payday for Kirk Cousins, the NFL rumors won’t stop connecting Baker Mayfield to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rumor Mill Won’t Stop Connecting Vikings to This Man

Mayfield produced a reclamation season with the 2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, guiding Todd Bowles’ team to the postseason’s Divisional Round, and accounting for 29 total touchdowns and 10 interceptions along the way. Accordingly, Mayfield, a free agent, will be paid this offseason handsomely by some team — probably the Buccaneers — likely in the ballpark of $28-$40 million annually.

Stop Connecting Vikings
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This week, Bleacher Report 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.”

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. If Kirk Cousins leaves, the Vikings would already be on the hook for $28.5 million in dead cap funds thanks to restructuring 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 weird.

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Kay added, “Mayfield’s ceiling may not be as high as Cousins’ when it comes to regular season stats, but he’s a gritty, tough signal-caller who has displayed poise and command in every offense he’s run. He’d be a popular teammate and leader in Minnesota who could help this team contend for several seasons if he opts to sign there as a free agent.”

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

Still, this isn’t the first time Mayfield has been linked to Minnesota this offseason.’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.”

Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Vikings should either recommit to Cousins if they feel they can win a Super Bowl with him as QB1 or start the clock on the next guy, presumably from the 2024 NFL Draft. Any involvement with Mayfield would further complicate a lurking offseason quarterback dilemma.

Mayfield will turn 29 in April.

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).

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