Purple Rumor Mill: ESPN’s QB Prediction for Vikings, a Cousins Dark Horse, Zach Wilson

Vikings' Russell Wilson
Kyle Terada-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 March 3rd edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: ESPN’s QB Prediction for Vikings, a Cousins Dark Horse, Zach Wilson

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: ESPN predicts that Minnesota will trot out Russell Wilson as QB1 in September.

Cousins Dark
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Seth Walder explained his Wilson-to-Vikings theory this week, “Let’s call this Wilson plus Oregon’s Bo Nix. Cousins might end up back in Minnesota, but I could see the Vikings balking at giving him a multiyear guaranteed contract. If he’s out of the picture, Wilson is probably the next-best short-term solution. (I’m assuming the Bears wouldn’t deal Justin Fields inside their division.)”

On pairing Wilson with would-be rookie selection Bo Nix, well, Vikings fans are not incredibly high on Nix either. So, this whole thing can reasonably be considered blah.

“But don’t be surprised if the Vikings go after multiple players to fill Cousins’ void. If they do, acquiring Wilson and drafting a QB at No. 11 makes the most sense,” Walder concluded.

Wilson will be unbelievably affordable for his 2024 team, so at least he has that going for him.

Rumor: The Dolphins could be a dark horse free-agent contender for Kirk Cousins’ services.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports.

Miami employs Tua Tagovailoa at QB1 and sounds outwardly committed to the young quarterback for the long haul. Pro Football Focus isn’t entirely buying that, though, plopping the Dolphins on a list of would-be Cousins suitors. Free agency kicks off in about one week, so Minnesota has that long to lock down their man for 2024 and beyond.

PFF’s Zoltán Buday explained Miami as a Cousins landing spot, “Although head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense has shown potential in both of his seasons at the helm in Miami, the unit was unable to perform consistently toward the end of each season.” He continued, “This naturally raised questions about the offense’s limitations, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the forefront of such conversations. The Dolphins attack the middle of the field: No quarterback attempted more passes to the intermediate areas (between 10 and 19 yards downfield) between the numbers than Tagovailoa in 2023.”

Aside from PFF speculation, the Dolphins coaching staff has spoken highly of Tagovailoa all offseason.

Bulday concluded about Miami’s potential pursuit of Cousins. “The gap between him and second-placed Jared Goff (106 versus 82 attempts) was as big as between Goff and 11th-placed Sam Howell. When Cousins has targeted that area on the field over the past five seasons, he ranks ninth in PFF grade out of 39 quarterbacks, while Tagovailoa is just 14th. The Vikings quarterback has a 118.5 passer rating on those throws, which ranks fourth among quarterbacks. Tagovailoa’s 93.6 mark places just 21st.”

Cousins to Miami is severely unlikely.

Rumor: The Vikings lead the way for Zach Wilson’s next-team odds.

Vikings Lead the Way
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) throws the ball as Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) tackles him during the first half of the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to Sportsline, with or without Cousins back in the saddle, the Vikings are the odds-on favorites to land New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.

The Jets permitted Wilson to seek a trade this week, a situation that seems like it will end up with an outright release when the dust settles. Whichever method lands him on the open market, the Vikings will evidently be waiting with the fanciest betting odds:

  • Minnesota Vikings = +300
  • Las Vegas Raiders = +300
  • Kansas City Chiefs = +400
  • Los Angeles Rams = +600
  • San Francisco 49ers = +700
  • Denver Broncos = +900
  • Philadelphia Eagles = +1000
  • Atlanta Falcons = +1200
  • Buffalo Bills = +1500

Few Vikings fans are excited about this.

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.