NFL Rumors: 3 Kirk Cousins surprise trade packages the Vikings can cash in on
The Minnesota Vikings concluded last season 13-4, kings of the NFC North and strongly in contention. Or so we thought. An early postseason exit cast doubt on Minnesota’s winning reputation. To kick off the 2023 campaign, such questions have been increased tenfold.
Minnesota is 0-2 after a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. A six-point loss to the Eagles isn’t exactly damning, but it came on the heels of a dreadful Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which included four damaging turnovers. As the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers make good early impressions, the Vikings appear to be division underdogs rather than favorites.
The focus now shifts to Kirk Cousins, whose future with the franchise is becoming increasingly dubious. Cousins is in the final year of his deal, and the Vikings have been unwilling to engage in long-term extension talks. Those discussions will be fruitless unless Cousins and the offense can get back on track quickly.
If the Vikings are forced to make a change, a Cousins trade could be the first domino to fall. Here are a few ideas to consider.
NFL Rumors: Vikings may deal Kirk Cousins to Titans
The Tennessee Titans began the season with a whimper, falling 16-15 to the totally unimpressive New Orleans Saints. Ryan Tannehill has been a reliable option over the years, but he’s only average. He was terrible last Sunday, completing 16-of-34 throws for 198 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Tannehill is in his fifth season as Tennessee’s starter. The Titans ostensibly picked his successors — Will Levis or Malik Willis — but Tannehill continues to see first-team reps. There’s no harm in looking for a seasoned quarterback under center if Mike Vrabel’s team is still committed to winning.
Cousins led Minnesota’s attack to the second-most passing yards in the NFL last season. The Titans have a mediocre receiving corps, but DeAndre Hopkins is a weathered vet who might quickly develop chemistry with Cousins. Derrick Henry is the best pure runner in the NFL.
Tannehill, like Cousins, is nearing the end of his contract. Tennessee would undoubtedly feel better about paying the former.
The Vikings receive a proven veteran to hold the offense over until next season, when a talented young rookie is expected to join the mix. Tannehill doesn’t have a magical arm, but he’s a good game manager who can get the ball to playmakers like Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison.
NFL Rumors: Vikings could deal Kirk Cousins to Cardinals
Kyler Murray was signed to a five-year, $230.5 million contract by the Arizona Cardinals in 2022. In 11 games, he completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,368 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The Cardinals went 3-8 with Murray at the helm, raising additional concerns about his long-term sustainability as the starter.
The former first-round pick began the 2023 season on the PUP list as he recovers from an ACL injury. In his absence, veteran Joshua Dobbs will start for the Cardinals. There was reasonable suspicion about starting a journeyman backup like Dobbs, and it wasn’t unjustified. In Week 1, he passed for 132 yards.
If the Cardinals want to get rid of Murray’s deal (he’s under contract until at least 2027), the Vikings’ difficulties give a golden chance. For the cost of a few additional draft picks, the Cardinals could potentially trade Murray for the less expensive Cousins with no long-term commitment. Even if the Cards re-sign Cousins at the end of the season, his contract will be more appealing than Murray’s.
This would be a risky upside gamble for Minnesota. Murray is a two-time Pro Bowler and former first-round pick. He’s 26 years old and has plenty of time to right the ship. The contract is difficult to swallow, but there is a reason Arizona signed him to it. Not long ago, the figure accurately represented Murray’s appraised value. He’s coming off a rough season and a significant knee injury, but the innate potential is there.
The Vikings would undoubtedly prefer to start fresh with a Cousins trade, but this type of blockbuster is the alternative. Murray is a veteran who has the potential to lead the Vikings back to contention.
Vikings rumor: Kirk Cousins could be traded to Jets
On Monday night, Aaron Rodgers spun to the ground with a torn Achilles. After a summer of excitement, the Jets’ new-look offense played four snaps before reverting to former No. 2 selection Zach Wilson.
New York is still 1-0 to start the season, thanks to a great defense and a dynamic group of playmakers. Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and Dalvin Cook form the core of a dynamic offense. If only the quarterback was more dependable.
Cousins should surely land in New York. It almost makes too much sense. The Vikings can start again with draft capital, while the Jets receive a high-level rental to hold down the fort until Rodgers returns in 2024. Cousins is also a knowledgeable veteran who can guide the wayward Zach Wilson, who seemed entirely unprepared in Week 1 despite a summer of studying under Rodgers.
Cousins’ passes have lost some zip in recent years, but he’s still a supremely confident gunslinger who enjoys airing it out. His relationship with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen throughout the years demonstrates his ability to establish relationships with outstanding receivers. Garrett Wilson is the ideal heir apparent. Plus, who better to ease Dalvin Cook into the Jets offense than his former running mate?