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These Big Vikings Stars Could Be Wearing New Jerseys In 2023

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

The Minnesota Vikings are in a strange place. The team finished last season with a 14-3 record and won the NFC North. However, a disappointing loss to the New York Giants on Wild Card weekend left a sour taste in the mouth of fans.

Since then, the team has hired a new defensive coordinator in Brian Flores and moved on from Eric Kendricks, Duke Shelley, Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and most recently Za’Darius Smith. On offense, long-time Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had to find a new home in Carolina following his release, and tight end Irv Smith Jr. signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

While there’s already been plenty of change this offseason, two more Vikings players have been involved in recent trade rumors and could be on a new team sometime in 2023.

Four-Time Pro Bowl Player

There always seem to be trade conversations around quarterback Kirk Cousins. The 34-year-old is entering his sixth season as the Vikings’ starter, and with four void years at the end of his contract, Cousins can become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Despite rumors of Minnesota being interested in one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft, the team didn’t look at the position until the fifth round when they selected Jaren Hall out of BYU. With no clear replacement on the current roster, is it safe to assume Cousins will play out his contract with the Vikings? Not exactly.

Starting quarterbacks get injured every year in the NFL. If a team in playoff contention needs a replacement midway through the season, Cousins will be the first name on the list. Two teams that come to mind are the Las Vegas Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers.

Cousins has a history with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington while Kirk was there. Shanahan has also expressed interest in having Cousins join the 49ers roster.

2017 Second-Round Draft Pick

One of the most discussed players since the season ended has been the Vikings’ running back, Dalvin Cook. The former Florida State star has played 73 games over six seasons in Minnesota and has made the Pro Bowl the last four years.

Cook carries a cap hit of over $14 million this season, with $8 million in dead cap. On this current deal, Dalvin is the league’s third-highest-paid runner behind Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry. Although Cook has over 1,000 rushing yards in each of the last four seasons, he has only managed to play a full schedule once.

Potential landing spots for the 27-year-old include the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Los Angeles Chargers. Buffalo is trying to build a roster worthy of a Super Bowl championship. Adding Cook would certainly improve the backfield.

The Bengals are in the same position and could be moving on from their star rusher Joe Mixon. As for Los Angeles, with Austin Ekler reportedly wanting out, Cook would slide in as a nice compliment to Justin Herbert.

Final Thoughts

If a Cousins trade were to happen, it would have made more sense pre-draft. However, it’s obvious his time in Minnesota is coming to an end, and a mid-season trade is a strong possibility. If the Vikings are struggling, why not move on and turn your attention to another loaded quarterback draft class next year?

Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury history and the connection between Cousins and Shanahan noted above make the Raiders and 49ers the most likely Cousins suitors. With Dalvin Cook, Minnesota would surely be happy to get a mid-to-late-round selection in return.

If the team can’t find a trade partner, they can save nearly $6 million by cutting him before June 1st. The Miami Dolphins have also been connected to Cook over the last three months. Whether he’s wearing orange and aqua or blue and red, Cook still has a lot left in the tank.


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