The Reason Behind the Minnesota Vikings & Justin Fields Rumors
Over the weekend, Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio published an article suggesting that our Minnesota Vikings were trying to trade up to 8th so they could take Justin Fields. Unless you’re just awaking from hibernation, then you’ll already know that the trade offer failed. You’ll also know that Fields is now a Bear, meaning Chicago may finally get some competent QB play at some point.
Perhaps the main question Vikings fans have is whether this rumor is true or not. Frankly, it’s impossible to say without having legit insider knowledge. Nevertheless, I’d like to make the case that this is a mere rumor, one that has a specific purpose.
Our Minnesota Vikings may have actually been interested in Justin Fields, but I find it difficult to believe that they were making a move for him for a few reasons. First, this is a team that is in win-now mode. If Zim and Spielman don’t succeed in 2021, they’ll likely be looking for work. They went into the draft with massive holes along the offensive line after foregoing many of the premier options in free agency. The end result was an obvious emphasis on the o-line that resulted in Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis.
In other words, taking Fields would have done nothing in the short-term to improve Minnesota’s paltry o-line. The men in charge – Zim and Spielman – ought to be supremely interested in improving in the short-term; their jobs likely depend on it.
Now, it’s clear that our friends in purple aren’t completely satisfied with the quarterback situation overall. If they were, they wouldn’t have chosen Kellen Mond at the top of the third round. Why was Mond brought in, though? Well, reason #1 is to improve at backup QB. No real way to sugarcoat it: Sean Mannion just isn’t a good NFL quarterback. His best role is as a QB3 who can help the starter prepare.
The next, and arguably more important, reason is that Mond will hopefully make Kirk Cousins a better quarterback. We’ve referred to this before as the Jordan Love Effect.
Last season, the Packers made the (misguided) decision to draft Love in the first round. The end result was a supremely motivated Aaron “Voldemort” Rodgers who was the league’s MVP. In some ways, then, the Packers must feel like they can have their cake and eat it too. They get a successor while also motivating the current guy. Alas, I think this will all blow up in their face, but smarter people than me have offered different ways of understanding these things.
My thinking is that the Mond pick and Fields rumors combine to create a mini Jordan Love Effect in Minnesota. My theory is that Mond’s presence will show Cousins that he is not 100% necessary for the Vikings to succeed at QB. The Fields rumors further solidifies the notion that Minnesota is seriously considering moving on from their expensive, soon-to-be elderly (at least by NFL standards) QB. As a result, the message is that Cousins needs to elevate and show the team that he is the man.
There is my theory, folks. Minnesota wasn’t actually interested in drafting Justin Fields at 8 (I’m thinking Slater was their target), but they are interested in finding ways of motivating their franchise QB. The result of this was a leaked rumor to Mr. Florio – who Cousins knows reasonably well – and then the subsequent media kerfuffle.
Of course, I’ve been wrong before (too many times to count), so I may be completely misguided on this one. That said, I’ve got my rationale and I’m sticking to it. It’s a motivation tactic. If it’s all merely a ploy to light a fire under Cousins’ rear end, fans can debate whether it’s a good strategy or not. The only thing I’ll add is that it’s at least better than getting a legit lion on a chain.