With the Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer’s firings, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell hirings, the Vikings are clearly rebuilding. It’s yet to be seen if this means all the walls are coming down and we’re starting from scratch everywhere or we’re just going to Menards and buying some paint. One of the biggest decisions for Kwesi and O’Connell will be evaluating the Vikings quarterback options for 2022 and beyond. Kirk Cousins is still under contract but plenty of the fan base is ready to move on from him for some reason. Kirk Cousins is polarizing (but what isn’t these days?). I’m on the side of the field that thinks Kirk Cousins is a solid quarterback. I’d love to see Cousins with a good offensive line and defense that doesn’t get lit up by something called Cooper Rush.
But I’m also willing to entertain the idea that the Vikings might be better moving on. So what are the options out there? If the Minnesota Vikings decide they’re done with the Cousins experience, are there better options available?
The Free Agency Pool
Ah yes, the beautiful spot where we found our guy KC8 in the first place. So who could we find to replace Kirk in the waiting pool? The 2022 NFL free agency list for quarterbacks is as follows
1. Tyrod Taylor
Is he cheaper than Kirk Cousins? Sure! Is he better? Absolutely not.
2. Teddy Bridgewater
I love Teddy, you love Teddy, we all love Teddy. Do we love Teddy playing quarterback? Maybe in our hearts but not with our eyes. People in Minnesota like to overrate Teddy Bridgewater like they overrate crockpots. Put the purple kool-aid down and be fine with the conclusion that Teddy Bridgewater is a great guy but only a mediocre quarterback.
3. Jameis Winston
Is this what you want over Kirk? This might be one of the worst Vikings quarterback options for 2022.
4. Cam Newton
Time to retire.
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
It will be entertaining for three to six weeks and then come crashing back to reality. I’ll pass.
6. Jacoby Brissett
Unless the Vikings hire Bill Belichick as their coach, I don’t see much winning happening with Jacoby.
7. Andy Dalton
8. Marcus Mariota
The Raiders seem to be willing to move on from Derek Carr but not willing to start Mariota. Why? Because Marcus Mariota is not a good quarterback.
So the free agency route isn’t going to work. What about a trade?
If the Vikings quarterback options in free agency don’t excite you, maybe a trade will. Kirk Cousins isn’t the only quarterback that might find himself traded this year. A handful of other teams are looking at moving on from their current situation–or one player, in particular, might bully his way out. Or maybe he will retire. Or maybe he won’t. But maybe he will. But probably not. Ignoring what it would take to obtain any of these quarterbacks in a trade, who are the potential QBs the Vikings could land in a trade?
He’s dazzlingly good-looking when he’s not playing football but there’s a reason the 49ers went to a Super Bowl with him and still are wanting to replace him ASAP. In many ways, he reminds me of what Christian Ponder’s ceiling could have been. We all also know that floor.
The Texans are paying this man a fortune not to play. I’ll assume their organization knows more about his situation than I do. For me, I’m going to pass on this one. You can draw your own conclusions here and that’s fine.
Jared Goff will make a great backup QB someday–and really, that’s the best job in the NFL. But starter for the Vikings? No thank you.
Tua could be interesting. It’s entirely possible the Dolphins are wanting to make a run at Watson. Tua shows potential and the Vikings have better weapons than the Dolphins. I wouldn’t hate this idea I suppose, but it’s not going to happen.
If Sam Darnold could somehow obtain an ego, I think he could be a really good quarterback. But he’s the embodiment of the song Self Esteem by the Offspring. I mean, just look at this picture. He’s by 6 miles the most confused-looking person on this list. In his Barstool pizza review, he looked like a complete rube. Sam Darnold doesn’t believe in himself and because of that, neither do I.
Outside of the fact that Russell Wilson might be the weirdest dude in the NFL, he is a
solid great quarterback. Much like Minnesota, Seattle’s defense has been awful the last couple of years and the Seahawks have been out of contention because of it. It seems like Wilson’s time in Seattle is done but I don’t see him wanting to head to Minnesota. He has a no-trade clause so he would have to be willing to drop it for such a thing to happen. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins are very similar in my opinion. Both can be winning quarterbacks but neither has been to this point. His salary-cap hit is half of Kirk Cousins’ in 2022. Neither Kirk Cousins nor Derek Carr is leaps better or worse than each other. They both belong in the same class of quarterbacks. Elite? Not technically, but they’re more than capable of winning if they have the tools to do so and can put up elite numbers. I just think Derek Carr is more fun to watch play. I’d be fine with Derek Carr.
I have to give Baker credit because I expected him to be Johnny Manzel volume 2. He instead lead the Browns to their first playoff win since 1994 last year and put up a decent fight versus the Chiefs in the divisional round. But you could easily make an argument that they beat the Chiefs if Mayfield wasn’t their quarterback. Mayfield has turned into a liability for the Browns and that’s what he would be here as well.
He’s not on here because this might actually happen. There’s no chance the Packers trade Rodgers to Minnesota, I don’t think Rodgers would WANT to be traded to Minnesota, and I doubt he’s leaving Green Bay anyway. He just likes the headlines. So sure you can pretend like this is an option since, on paper, it is. But we all know it isn’t. Vikings Legend Brett Favre 2.0 isn’t happening and I’m fine with that.
And of course, there’s the NFL draft.
The Vikings quarterback options expand even more if you look at the draft. But this option is incredibly risky. We overvalue quarterbacks in the NFL draft and I don’t understand why. We’re only a year removed from Trevor Lawerence, Zach Wilson, Tray Lance, and Justin Fields all being snatched up and I’m not overly impressed with any of them. Might Mac Jones be good? Who knows. Are we excited about Kellen Mond? We can go back a year prior and be in love with Burrow and Herbert, but there are plenty of misses in that class as well.
I’m by no means saying the NFL draft isn’t a great spot to get a quarterback. The Vikings should be drafting one regularly in hopes that one pans out. Hell, Kirk Cousins wasn’t even the first quarterback Washington drafted in 2012. But the idea of dropping Cousins and just replacing him in the draft is crazy talk. If it were that easy, we would have never had Cousins in the first place.
BUT let’s take a look at the draft anyway. I’m told this is a shallow class for quarterback but who are this year’s “best” quaterbacks? And can the Vikings get to them?
With the Minnesota Vikings picking 12th overall, they might have the option to pick anyone they want (assuming they even want to select a quarterback). I don’t see them targeting either of the two quarterbacks that are projected to go in the top 10 but the new GM may feel differently.
I also need to be very clear about this section of this article. I know absolutely nothing about any of these quarterbacks. I haven’t seen a single second of ANY of them play, and I’ll guess 90% of the people who read this also fall into that category. And that’s also a problem. If any one of these quarterbacks were seen as a can’t miss, we would have heard about them. So maybe the best of all the Vikings quarterback options is on this list. Maybe not.
Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh
Pickett will be gone before 12. But if he does slide, sure, the Vikings could take him at 12!
Matt Corral – Ole Miss
Corral is likely out the door before pick 12. If his “serious injury” in the Sugar Bowl does cause him to fall down the draft board, sure the Vikings could take him at 12!
Carson Strong – Nevada
Looks like he will be a day 2 quarterback. The Vikings could probably draft him if they wanted. Should they? I have no idea. He looks skinny and his hands looks rather small in this picture. Does that matter? Probably not. Unless you believe in that sort of thing.
Sam Howell – North Carolina
Howell is likely drafted before 12. But if he isn’t, sure the Vikings could take him at 12! He gives me Big Ben vibes from this picture. The Steelers should probably draft him.
Malik Willis – Liberty
I fully expect Malik Willis to be there at pick 12. I know this because the article I read said he will be. So sure the Vikings could take Malik Willis at pick 12!
Bailey Zappe – Western Kentucky
Honestly, I’ve never heard of this dude in my life. So I’m sure the Vikings could take him at 12 or much, much later.
Desmond Ridder – Cincinnati
I’m reading something right now that says Ridder could get first-round considerations. This means the Vikings could take him at 12 or maybe later! Should they? I HAVE NO IDEA.
Kaleb Eleby – Western Michigan
The internet is telling me that Kaleb Eleby would be a perfect mid- to late-round pick for the Eagles. The same could hold true for the Vikings. But also do you want somebody named Kaleb Eleby running your offense? I’m not sure I do. Sorry, Kaleb.
Rip Wheeler – N/A
I’ve never seen him throw a football but I have seen him throw a rattlesnake. Sign me up on this one. This may be the best of the Vikings quarterback options.
So is the grass greener without Cousins? I have no idea. But I’ll leave you with this.
One quarterback is somehow the hands-down MVP in Aaron Rodgers. The other is Kirk Cousins. Of note, neither are eligible for the new MVVP award.
Kirk Cousins is not the problem. But maybe he’s not the solution, either. That’s for the Kwewsi to figure out.
I was in at least 3 people’s Myspace Top 8. I have as many NBA Championships as Tom Brady. I’m probably too old to be here. @NickLewis37