Deshaun Watson Names Vikings as Preferred Trade Destination

Photo: Scott Galvin - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are about to embark on one of the most important offseasons in team history. They have a new general manager, a new head coach and a lot of decisions to make with an aging defense and a quarterback set to count for $45 million against the salary cap, in Kirk Cousins.

Watson Wrinkle

But according to Jeremy Fowler (ESPN), the new brass has another intriguing situation to consider. Controversial star QB, Deshaun Watson, who missed all of the 2021-22 season and is currently battling 22 civil sexual assault suits, has named the Vikings as one of two teams he’d like to be traded to. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the other team Watson is interested in.

The Texans quarterback, who spent the 2021 season on the team’s active roster but did not play, has begun evaluating potential fits for his services in 2022, with the Buccaneers and Vikings among teams on his radar.

One source noted that Watson — who has a no-trade clause — is still early in the evaluation process, but he’s looking for the right blend of offensive system, coaching, talent and, most importantly, the chance to win.

The Vikings have intriguing young pieces in Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, and they face a decision on the contract of Kirk Cousins, a 2023 free agent who has a $45 million cap hit in 2022. New coach Kevin O’Connell, however, conveyed a strong belief in Cousins during his interview process with Minnesota, relaying a vision for maximizing his skill set.

Jeremy Fowler – ESPN

Deshaun Watson Conundrum

In case you’ve forgotten, during his season-long absence, Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s also just 26 years old. The numbers don’t lie, especially when you consider how bad the Houston Texans have been during much of his young career.

In 2020-21, Watson finished the season 1st in the NFL in passing yards (4,823), 7th in passing touchdowns (33), 2nd in passer rating (112.4), 3rd in completion percentage (70.2%) and 4th in interceptions (7). There is no denying his talent.

But neither the Minnesota Vikings nor their fanbase want to trade for a face of their franchise if he’s a serial rapist. And that is the overwhelming allegation, given the 22 sexual assault suits Watson is currently up against.

According to Fowler, DeShawn cannot be deposed for the civil suits filed against him until February 22, at which time everyone is hoping for more answers. On talent and football alone, of course the Vikings should be interested in Watson. But this situation goes above and beyond football.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan