Because of a 1-4 start and a tight salary cap, there has been some chatter about the possibility of the Minnesota Vikings seeking to trade Kirk Cousins. The Viking Age, for instance, published an article making the case for a Cousins trade. While anything is possible in the NFL, a trade involving Cousins is highly unlikely.
Will Vikings Trade Kirk Cousins?
Frankly, the possibility of a trade is extremely low. During the offseason, the Vikings signaled their confidence in Cousins by handing him a contract extension. On average, Cousins is making $33 million a year, per Over the Cap. Rick Spielman isn’t handing out that kind of money unless he is confident.
While it’s true that the Vikings have gotten off to a disastrous start, early struggles were always a strong possibility. They lost a ton of players (as we recounted in our offseason sonnet), and their primary plan to replace them rested in their 15-person draft class.
There’s also the issue of fair compensation. What can the Vikings demand in exchange for Cousins? The Vikings’ trade for Sam Bradford costed a first-round pick and a conditional fourth. To make the numbers work, the Eagles had to retain $11 million. The Bradford deal offers one precedent, but there are very few examples of teams trading for a player of Cousins’ level.
It’s also worth keeping the contract in mind. He has a $30 million signing bonus. When they traded Stefon Diggs, the Vikings needed to pay the rest of the signing bonus, resulting in a $9 million dead cap hit for this season. Will a Cousins trade trigger the same thing?
With Cousins gone, the Vikings would need to turn to Sean Mannion, who is not a NFL starter. The only other options would be Nate Stanley and Jake Browning, players who have a long way to go in their development.
Will the Vikings trade Kirk Cousins? It’s impossible to know, but it’s a huge stretch. PFT reached a similar conclusion not long ago.
In spite of what their 1-4 record suggests, the Vikings aren’t that far off from competing. How much better would this team be with a healthy Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter? How much of an impact would Michael Pierce have made? This is a team that’s close, so expect the Vikings to stick to their original plan, even if things are tough right now.
Indeed, the safe money rests on the Vikings continuing to move forward with their Leadership Trinity. Even if they continue to struggle, the Vikings are in a good position to succeed next season. Cousins, in all likelihood, will be the one taking the snaps in 2021.