We don't know who the Vikings are going to hire as their new general manager and head coach. And we certainly don't know what those new hires will think of the roster they will inherit.
What we do know is that one of their first decisions — and perhaps their biggest decision — is what do do about the Vikings' QB situation, as outlined recently by columnist Chip Scoggins.
There are three options: Try to trade Cousins, who has one year and a $45 million cap hit remaining on his contract. Keep him for a final year and let him play out that contract. Or extend him to lower that cap hit but add years to the deal.
Chip's preference — and mine — is for a trade. But a frequent question, including one from Daily Delivery podcast listener Brian, is this: Can they really trade Cousins, and who would want him? I talked about that on today's show, identifying five potential teams.
Let's take a quick look at them now, in order of least to most likely suitors:
5 Miami Dolphins
Why it makes sense: The Dolphins have the most cap space of any team in the league, and they don't seem 100% sold on Tua Tagovailoa as their QB of the future. Plus they have a strong defense that could use a better offense.
Potential snag: Miami could keep Tua for at least another year, or it could keep fixating on a Deshaun Watson trade.
4 Carolina Panthers
Why it makes sense: Carolina's QB situation is a mess, it's in decent enough cap shape to pull off a trade and Cousins lit up the Panthers this year so they've seen him at his best.
Potential snag: They might not be close enough to competing to make that kind of move at quarterback.
3 Cleveland Browns
Why it makes sense: Baker Mayfield struggled in 2021, calling into question his future. Cleveland has cap room, and one of Cousins' many former offensive coordinators is of course the head coach of the Browns now (Kevin Stefanski).
Potential snag: Cousins would provide stability, but is it the sort of home run move that would put Cleveland over the top? Would it be worth giving up on Mayfield, who played much of 2021 with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder?
2 Denver Broncos
Why it makes sense: Denver has seemed to be a QB away from contention for years. A durable, productive player like Cousins could make the Broncos a playoff team. Plus the Broncos are run by George Paton, formerly with the Vikings.
Potential snag: This is also a prime destination if Aaron Rodgers moves.
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
Why it makes sense: The Steelers somehow made the playoffs with a subpar final season from Ben Roethlisberger. A franchise that loves stability could see Cousins as the logical person to lock down QB for the next 3-5 years.
Potential snag: Drafting a QB might make more sense for where they are in their trajectory.
Long story short: There is no perfect team for a trade, but there are plenty of teams that could use an upgrade at quarterback. The right combination of cap space, strong defense and the desire for stability could leave an opening for whomever is in charge of the Vikings to make a big move with Cousins.