Pretty much every NFL team this offseason seems to have sort of QB rumbling attached to it — trade, draft, release, what have you — and the Vikings are no different.
Though the notion that the Vikings might try to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason has tended to live on the fringes of speculation instead of in actual fact, that hasn't stopped people from talking about the possibility.
(Case in point: This week's Access Vikings podcast, when we tried to downplay the idea of the Vikings trading Cousins to the 49ers but nonetheless spent several minutes assessing his trade value and dreaming up scenarios by which the Vikings could either acquire Deshaun Watson from Houston or use the haul from a Cousins swap to move up and draft a QB).
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And so there was Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on a Friday appearance on the NFL Network show "Good Morning Football" reaffirming that not much has changed. The Vikings want Cousins and think he did a very good job in 2020.
"Kirk's our guy," Zimmer said on the show. "You know, he had a terrific year this year. We were fourth in the league on offense. We have to get better on defense — we had a lot of injuries and young guys — that's my job to get it fixed."
In the accompanying writeup on the NFL's site, writer Kevin Patra dismisses rumors of the Vikings perhaps sending Cousins to San Francisco as "gossip (that) has no basis outside of offseason chatter houses," which is A) Almost certainly true and B) Makes me think "offseason chatter houses" is either the name of the next great podcast or indie band.
Still, if I am addressing Zimmer's quote directly I have to point out that rebuilding the defense and getting significantly better in that area while paying an above-average but not elite quarterback $31 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022 is going to be, um, tricky.
It would be quite a bit easier if the Vikings pulled the plug, swung a deal while the QB market was hopping and the 49ers were potentially looking, and started over with a youngster on a cheap rookie deal.
The cap savings by 2022 (next year would be negligible because the Vikings would take a $20 million hit from Cousins' signing bonus on the 2021 cap in any trade) would be enormous and could buy a lot of pass rushers and corners.
But Zimmer is not wrong that Cousins played well for much of last season. Even Cousins skeptics would agree he was far from their biggest issue in 2020. I will even choose to temporarily forget that just a few weeks ago, former Vikings DE Everson Griffen suggested on Twitter that Zimmer didn't want the Vikings to sign Cousins in 2018.
For now, this chatter house can only take the coach at his word. Cousins is the Vikings' guy.