The Minnesota Vikings’ looming decision at quarterback generated some buzz during the week leading up to the Senior Bowl.
They can either re-up with Kirk Cousins, which could get pricey as he projects to land a deal starting at $40 million annually. The Vikings could also look to find their quarterback of the future in the 2024 draft.
“People around the league are keeping an eye on the Minnesota Vikings at No. 11,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote on February 3. “They did a lot of quarterback homework last offseason and could eventually target one high in the draft with free agent Kirk Cousins’ future in Minnesota uncertain.”
Both sides are interested in Cousins’ return, and drafting a top quarterback could prove difficult.
“Moving from No. 11 into the top three would cost GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah a ton of draft capital.”
The Vikings have six picks in this year’s draft, including just two picks – Nos. 11 and 42 overall – in the top 100 selections. A move up into the second or third spot – Fowler reports the Chicago Bears are expected to select Caleb Williams No. 1 overall – could still be possible.
They would need some help.
Vikings Need Help to Trade Up, Draft Top QB
First, the Washington Commanders or New England Patriots would have to be willing to pass on a quarterback. Cousins has been linked to both organizations ahead of his highly-anticipated free agency this offseason.
Previous deals illustrate how costly it truly can be.
The San Francisco 49ers traded three first-round picks and a future third-rounder to the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 overall to No. 3 overall for Trey Lance in 2021. It cost the Bears two first-round picks and two mid-round picks to move up from No. 20 overall to No. 11 for Justin Fields that same year.
It doesn’t even have to be for a quarterback. The Houston Texans traded the Nos. 12 and 33 overall picks in last year’s draft plus their first- and third-round picks in this year’s draft to move up to No. 3 for edge rusher Will Anderson last season.
Moving up to No. 2 would cost even more.
Kirk Cousins’ Return Continues to Make Most Sense for Vikings
It’s not just the Vikings’ dearth of draft picks that make a trade-up such a lofty proposition. Cousins also counts for $28.5 million against the cap in 2024, even if he is not on the roster.
He will take up a significant portion of the cap no matter what. The Vikings will have to find cost-effective ways to fill their other roster holes. That could mean their draft picks are even more valuable to them than in a trade.
Inking Cousins to a new deal could lower his cap hit.
It would also push their cap issues into future years, which is the cause of their current precarious cap situation.
Perhaps most importantly, it could allow them to stand pat and take their potential quarterback of the future later. They could have a chance to draft Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at No. 11 or one of Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. in the second round.
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