This year’s Super Bowl teams, the 49ers and Chiefs, represent two distinct paths the Vikings could take overall and specifically regarding QB Kirk Cousins. Today’s question: Which is the best idea for the Vikings?
First take: Michael Rand
I conjured up this question, so let me explain.
First, you have the 49ers — a team with an expensive quarterback who is good but not great, a dynamic run game and a smothering defense. They paved a convincing path to the Super Bowl using that formula, and it’s one the Vikings would love to follow — and could try to for years to come if they give Cousins a lucrative extension beyond next season.
But you also have the Chiefs — a team that ditched a QB who could get them to the playoffs (Alex Smith) and swung for the fences to land Patrick Mahomes. The Vikings could try that, too, if they draft their future QB in a few months while letting Cousins play out the final year of his deal.
Chip Scoggins: Interesting scenario. I would not give Cousins an extension at this point. I would let him play out the final year while focusing on bolstering the offensive line.
I would be tempted to draft a quarterback this year if there was one I truly loved and believed was a franchise-altering QB, but the Vikings have so many pressing needs (offensive line, cornerback) that I think that needs to be the immediate focus.
Two thoughts: You’re not guaranteed to hit a grand slam like the Chiefs did with Mahomes if you draft a quarterback in the first round. They can’t afford to pick the wrong guy.
And the Spielman-Zimmer regime doesn’t have long-term contracts at this point. Are you comfortable letting them draft a quarterback of the future — likely at a high premium — without knowing if they are going to be part of that future?
Rand: It would be pretty surprising if Spielman and Zimmer didn’t get extensions soon, don’t you think? And at that point, it would at least make more sense to imagine Cousins here long-term.
But then the question becomes: Can you afford to pay Cousins north of $30 million a year and still build a Super Bowl roster around him?
Or would it make more sense to invest in a quarterback with the No. 25 pick and use the money on other things in 2021 and beyond? I might be tempted to do the latter, especially if the replacement didn’t have to be a Mahomes clone — just a Cousins equivalent.
Scoggins: Yes, I think it’s safe to assume that the Wilfs will extend Zimmer and Spielman this offseason. I just don’t see the need to extend Cousins and tie up even more money in him.
I wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a quarterback in the first round, but they have to be convinced he’s a can’t-miss guy. And that might require moving up in the first round. But their offensive line play was so deficient in pass protection against good defenses this season that it has to be No. 1 on their priority list.
Rand: I agree on offensive line, but it’s pretty obvious the Vikings can’t have it all. We will see Sunday which path, at least this year, produces a Super Bowl winner.
Scoggins: Hoping to see some Mahomes magic.
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