What Would a Kirk Cousins Trade Look Like?

  The current signal caller of the Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins, has entered the annual draft season trade rumor circuit as we pass the highlight of the off-season. A lot of buzz in particular, implies a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to reunite with his former offensive coordinator in Washington and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Is there truth to any of these rumors? How realistic would a trade like this be? Most importantly, what would the compensation look like? Well, let’s take a closer look at this potential transaction.

The Rumors
Draft season is probably the most active time for trade rumors to occur as teams are getting ready to retool, reload, or even rebuild, ideally starting with the draft. Teams want to offload contracts, trade away players who aren’t scheme fits, the list goes on and on. In Minnesota’s case, the Kirk Cousins rumors have been somewhat of an ongoing rumor for over a year now.

When the new regime took over last year, there were some talks about the job security Cousins had, but when Kevin O’Connell was officially announced as the next head coach of the Vikings, it was pretty obvious that Cousins was here to stay for just a little longer. At the age of 35, the former Michigan State quarterback is at a crossroads in his career, and the 49ers are supposedly keeping a close eye.

The validity of these rumors are anyone’s guess at the moment, and more will be revealed in the future when Cousins’ time in purple comes to an end. Whether that be a trade or his contract simply running out is up for debate, but as of the writing of this article these rumors are exactly as they are, rumors.

How Realistic is This Potential Trade?
It’s a complex question to ask as this ultimately comes down to how much the 49ers actually value Cousins, and vice versa in Minnesota. It truly depends on if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell are truly done with Cousins and are ready to move on.

That would mean that Minnesota are fully committing to a rebuild that’s a bit more focused than previously thought, as the Vikings have no clear options to replace him. They don’t have the position in the draft to select one of the top talents of the class, and the trade ammunition to get them there simply wouldn’t be worth it in their current state.

Minnesota simply isn’t in the right place to mortgage the future for a chance at a quarterback with no competent starter to show them the ropes. It’s harder to keep around pending free agents without security at the quarterback position, and say what you want about Cousins, he’s much safer than a rookie.

The Potential Compensation
To entertain this deal for a moment, let’s look at what Cousins’ value would be. It’s hard to judge considering his age, but the numbers speak for themselves. Kyle Shanahan has been an avid fan of Cousins for a very long time, almost like a little crush you’d write about in your diary, and if the Trey Lance deal is any proof, they’re willing to pay up for what they want.

Speaking of Trey Lance, his name’s entered these same rumors as a potential piece to this deal. A product of Minnesota himself, Trey Lance is a unique player for the Vikings as he’d be an uber athletic quarterback coming off of a season ending injury, particularly his ACL. For a running quarterback, saying it’s worrying would be an understatement. Lance however, is young enough to recover fully, especially with the help of modern medicine. This isn’t the 80s where a player tears their ACL and their career is over like a sick race horse getting, y’know, after breaking their leg.

Lance would be a fascinating project for the Vikings, but only if he’s given the time to develop and not rushed into the starting job while he’s still rehabbing his knee. That would mean the best case scenario for this idea would be for Cousins to actually stay and mentor Lance as he regains his strength and learns from one of the best pocket passers in the league. This is honestly highly unlikely, as the 49ers likely viewing this as a player swap rather than a situation where they hand over Lance and just wait for Cousins’ contract to expire, something they just can’t do with his age.

Other than Lance, the draft pick compensation is kind of tricky. Some say he’s easily worth a first round pick, others say a third and fifth max. Personally, after the Rodgers trade, he looks to be worth a package similar to that deal considering the age and production. This isn’t me saying he’s as talented as Rodgers, but at this point in both their careers, they carry pretty similar values. It’s tough to pin, but it’s at the very least multiple picks.

Overall, as interesting this deal is, it’s highly unlikely. Minnesota would openly be punting next season, and with their current situation, that’s much less than ideal. The truth is Minnesota is better off letting Cousins play out the rest of his contract, especially without the extension, and find his replacement in either this year’s or next year’s draft.

As fun as trade rumors are, it’d take a hail mary deal for the 49ers to land Kirk Cousins and for Minnesota to be satisfied with the deal.

Regardless of the criticism he’s received here, the fact is that he’s been a solid quarterback for the Vikings, and the best signal caller they’ve had since Brett Favre, low bar I know. The truth is, you never know how good you have it until it’s gone, and I think some Vikings fans are a little too eager to dump Cousins just because of a lack of success.

Minnesota doesn’t have a set replacement, and Trey Lance can’t be treated as one without the right resources. Sit tight Vikings fans, you might be stuck with Captain Kirk for a little longer.

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