Could Top-6 Pick Convince Vikings to Trade Kirk Cousins?

Photo: Kevin C. Cox – Getty Images

The NFL offseason rumor mill is operating in overdrive this week, thanks to a bevvy of quarterback unknowns around the league. Aaron Rodgers is typing goodbyes on Instagram to former lovers, including Shailene Woodley and (maybe) the Green Bay Packers. Russell Wilson may or may not want out of Seattle and the Minnesota Vikings are getting calls from the Carolina Panthers gauging their interest in trading the one-year $45 million cap conundrum, Kirk Cousins.

“From what I’ve heard, [the Vikings] have gotten a call. Now, from what I’ve heard, it went nowhere, so far. But it is interesting that the phone did ring at TCO in Eagan and on the other end of the line, the Carolina Panthers. Quarterback desperate, panicked, I’m sure. I think if Matt Rhule and the Panthers don’t have a successful 2022, he’s probably going to be fired.”

“Now the Vikings supposedly have said, ‘Hey, let’s put a pin in that conversation. We don’t plan to move him now.’ But it makes sense that you would then try to drive things a bit and I think that was before we found out about the [unwillingness to re-negotiate his] contract.”

Judd Zulgad – SKOR North

How much is Kirk worth, though?

Still, as Judd mentions, the Vikings continue to pledge their loyalty to Kirk Cousins. One has to wonder, then, what it will take for inquiring teams like the Panthers, or others who may be interested, to get the ear of the new regime residing at TCO Performance Center.

What if the offer includes a top-6 pick in the upcoming NFL draft? That’s where the Carolina Panthers a slotted, come April. How would Kwesi Adofo-Mensah hang up the phone if that’s the starting point? He wouldn’t. But would the Panthers really put that #6 overall pick on the table?

Pro Football Focus believes they’d need to offer that pick and more to get a deal done. In an article titled: 15 Trades to Watch Out For in the 2022 Offseason, the Panthers deal their 1st round this year (#6 overall) and their 2nd round pick for 2023 to the Vikings and agree to eat all $35 million of Kirk Cousins’ remaining contract (after Minnesota eats the obligatory $10 million in dead cap).

Other Variables

I didn’t start this blog by naming Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson for no reason. Those are the two quarterbacks who could be available for the taking this offseason. Either QB would set the trade market for going forward.

But if those two superstars aren’t dealt or if a quarterback desperate team (like the Broncos, Panthers or Steelers) can’t land either one… then their best option immediately becomes Kirk Cousins. And that is a bidding war that the Minnesota Vikings would ultimately win.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell might love Kirk Cousins as much as they claim. But, love fades. If desperate front offices start hurling 1st round picks their way in negotiations, I’d imagine the new leaders could quickly be talked into their being “other fish in the sea”.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan