Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Trade Proposal Nets Vikings Former number 1 successor to Kirk Cousins

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The Minnesota Vikings don’t need a starting-caliber quarterback for the 2022 regular season with Kirk Cousins ​​at the helm, but they could be on the market as early as next year.

New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah successfully hit the road a season after having to decide whether to part ways with Cousins, who produced a monster year in 2021 based on both traditional stats and advanced analysis, or himself the 33-year old QB long-term.

Adofo-Mensah’s game of adding a season to Cousins ​​contains several strokes of genius. The decision allows Minnesota to once again challenge for the playoffs and division crown in a struggling NFC North, maximizes prime years for Pro Bowlers Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, and gives new head coach Kevin O’Connell a chance to explore what could look for a future with Cousins’, and also allows the Vikings the maneuverability to get away from quarterback next year without running a prime asset for nothing.

But Minnesota will face the same conundrum next offseason as they did this offseason unless the front office proactively seeks an experienced replacement for Cousins ​​should the franchise ultimately decide to go ahead.

Two longtime starters in the NFL and recent playoff game winners appear to be on the way out of their current situations, and both could make sense for the Vikings as they build their roster going forward. Those two players are Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns and Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers.

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ESPN’s Dan Graziano posited in an article published Friday, June 10 that Mayfield or Garoppolo could make sense as a backup for Cousins ​​this season and as his successor in the future. It’s a move that another NFL franchise made just a few years ago.

“[The Vikings are] Sat with Kirk Cousins ​​this season but might switch from him after the year,” Graziano wrote. “This is an example of a place where Mayfield or Garoppolo wouldn’t start right away but could position themselves as the team’s starter in 2023, by the way [Jameis] Winston did with that [New Orleans] Saints in 2020.”

Mayfield, a former No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, started four years in Cleveland and is just two postseasons away from leading the Browns to their first playoff win in more than a quarter century.

Garoppolo, on the other hand, spearheaded the Niners’ journey to the NFC Championship Game last season after San Francisco narrowly missed out on winning the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.

Cousins ​​is currently joined by Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond. Either Mayfield or Garoppolo would be a significant upgrade in that department and would provide the Vikings with a safety blanket as quarterback should Cousins ​​suffer any sort of injury.

The problem with both quarterbacks is the money it would cost Minnesota to bring them in. Mayfield is expected to earn nearly $19 million this season, while Garoppolo has a cap of nearly $27 million. Either way, it’s a sizeable investment on the Vikings’ part for a player who likely won’t see the field much in 2022.

While the Niners have given no indication that they would be willing to pay Garoppolo’s salary as part of a trade, the Browns are so heavily leveraged they may not have a choice when it comes to Mayfield — making him more likely Minnesota.

The Carolina Panthers were locked in trade talks for the quarterback during the NFL draft and asked the Browns to take up to $13-$14 million from Mayfield’s contract as part of the deal, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Alexander.

Those negotiations eventually fell through, but as the season nears, Cleveland could prove more willing to pocket a significant chunk of Mayfield’s salary — perhaps enough for the Vikings to consider taking a Flyer for a starting-caliber QB, which is certainly cheaper will be his next business.

The Carolina Panthers were locked in trade talks for the quarterback during the NFL draft and asked the Browns to take up to $13-$14 million from Mayfield’s contract as part of the deal, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Alexander.

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