Vikings Somehow in Rumor Mill for Rival QB

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From Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Zach Wilson to Trey Lance, the Minnesota Vikings have been linked, at least in some capacity, to nearly every available passer in the 2024 quarterback carousel rumor mill.

Vikings Somehow in Rumor Mill for Rival QB

It’s evidently the nature of the beast when the franchise’s QB1 is scheduled to hit free agency. In about one week, Kirk Cousins can talk to any team in the NFL about a contract unless the 35-year-old hunkers down and recommits to Minnesota. Stay tuned.

Somehow in Rumor
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And among the rumor bonanza, prevalent in the last eight weeks, another name was dropped into the mix this weekend — Justin Fields.

Unbelievably, ESPN tied the Vikings to Fields as a possible trade suitor, with the 2024 NFL Draft less than eight weeks away. The Chicago Bears are expected to draft Caleb Williams of USC first overall, and if so, Fields will need a new NFL employer. There isn’t room on Chicago’s depth chart for Williams and Fields.

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ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote Sunday, “The major quarterback domino that many are waiting to fall is Chicago’s Justin Fields decision. Chicago has not played its hand, and several league sources believe Fields — who has not requested a trade — could probably garner a Day 2 pick in a potential deal. There’s no firm deadline on a trade, though the start of free agency is sort of a soft one. Chicago will need multiple teams in the fray to drive a market, and after asking around, I expect Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Minnesota to be on the radar.”

Fields ranked 21st per EPA+CPOE in 2023, an efficiency metric adjudicating wins added per player, in his third season as a pro. Of course, that mark isn’t necessarily good, but Vikings fans would maintain hope that his upside could be unlocked with Kevin O’Connell’s tutelage.

Wacky Justin
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The price for Fields would be alluring, too. He won’t cost a 1st-Rounder, instead likely gettable for a 2nd-Rounder and change. Minnesota would have to pay more than other suitors, victims of a probable “NFC North tax” if Fields were traded to a rival.

Drawbacks of Fields in Minnesota? Well, he’s not incredibly accurate, and that’s the keynote trait coveted by O’Connell in a quarterback. Fields has also yet to produce a full season of results, rather turning on the gas later toward the midseason. Nobody knows for sure if he has the “it factor” to succeed on the whole. His next team will learn a verdict in 2024 and 2025.

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Fields, however, is mobile. The Vikings haven’t experienced that trait since Daunte Culpepper — about 20 years ago. He’s one of the league’s premier rushing quarterbacks and might be the fastest overall. He’d swing the pendulum wildly away from Cousins’ modus operandi, and some fans would welcome the change.

Otherwise, if Fields in the rumor mill is fool’s good, Minnesota can re-sign Cousins, draft a quarterback with high-round capital in April, or do both.

But let it be known, with a flip of the calendar to March, the Vikings are formally in the rumor mill for Fields, which didn’t feel possible one year ago.

NFL free agency begins a week from Monday with “legal tampering,” and a verdict on Cousins should be learned on or around that date. Fields will turn 25 on Tuesday.

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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