What could Minnesota get in return for Kirk Cousins?


After what the Lions got for Matthew Stafford, the Vikings may be wondering what they could flip Kirk Cousins for.

The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford were going to part ways, and on Saturday news came of a deal that will send him to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and three draft picks. Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings (and their fans) may now have their antennas up.

In three seasons with Kirk Cousins as their quarterback, the Vikings are 25-21-1 (in his starts) with one playoff appearance. It hasn’t always been his fault, but it’s clear he’s not going to bring the Vikings a Super Bowl. He’s also under contract for two more years, via an extension last offseason.

On his own, even for those of us who are high on him in general, Stafford is not worth two first-round picks and a third-rounder. But the Lions were willing to take on Goff’s odious contract, which guarantees him $43 million in salary over the next two years, and they got at least an extra first-round pick for their trouble. That, and they have a viable path to unloading Goff before he ever takes a snap for them.

What could the Vikings get for Kirk Cousins?

Cousins is due to count $31 million against the salary cap for the Vikings in 2021. But a team that would trade for him would only take on $21 million (his guaranteed salary), with the Vikings retaining $20 million in dead money. On March 20 this year, his $35 million salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed. So barring a restructure as part of a trade, a new team would be locked into two years of Cousins on their roster.

A team that has or could clear the cap space may have some interest in Cousins, at what amounts to low-end veteran starter money for 2021. The Vikings should be open to offers, in a broad sense, as long as they can secure a replacement easily from a list of options.

Thick with sarcasm, SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad is ready to demand the Vikings get a big return for Cousins now.

Vikings’ fans surely now have some visions of them getting a first-round pick for Cousins, if only to move on from him and move forward. But two second-rounders is a better expectation. And that’s an offer that could come from somewhere, depending on how some other quarterback dominoes fall.

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