In case you haven’t been on the Internet in the last few days, the sky is falling in Vikingland. Just a week after an incredibly competitive loss to one of the best teams in the league, everyone has quickly decided that Minnesota is one of the league leaders in train wreckage.
The focal point of much of the social rage and media coverage has been Kirk Cousins’ horrific play. Just seven official games after throwing an all-time dagger to Adam Thielen to secure an improbable playoff victory, things have devolved to the point of Viking fans sifting through mock drafts and running through trade scenarios.
NFL.com’s David Carr has decided to throw a little fuel on that fire by suggesting that the Minnesota Vikings are an ideal landing spot for Sam Darnold. After listing Minnesota as a top-three destination alongside New England and San Francisco, Carr wrote:
The Vikings are in a world of hurt financially when it comes to their rapidly declining quarterback. Kirk Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million contract extension in March, but it seems highly unlikely that the team would part ways with him this offseason given that doing so would result in $41 million in dead money counting against Minnesota’s salary cap in 2021, according to Over the Cap. Might the Vikings trade for a QB with a high ceiling who’s still playing on his rookie contract? They’re going to have to do something because Cousins isn’t getting it done, and backup Sean Mannion hardly seems like the answer.
Let’s set aside the fact that I believe Carr is missing out on two big time potential suitors for Darnold in Indianapolis and Dallas. The Colts have a Super Bowl defense, but Philip Rivers looks way too much like last year’s Philip Rivers, and despite their hilariously terrible record, the Cowboys are STILL in the NFC East race. But if you allow yourself to get past those two and truly believe Carr’s list, there are two important questions to consider here:
- Would the New York Jets actually trade Darnold?
- And would the Vikings actually want him?
If you believe the internet rumor mill, the answer to question No. 1 seems like a clear yes. New York is somehow having a far worse season then the Vikings. They look like a lock for the No. 1 overall pick and Trevor Lawrence. Moving on from their young signal-caller and riding with Joe Flacco from here on out would all but cement that.
But still, trading a young QB in the middle of a season is kind of crazy right? Well crazy seems to be the Jets vibe. Adam Gase has been an absolute disaster since taking over, the Jamal Adams thing was a nightmare, and the Le’Veon Bell experience was beyond laughable.
At this point I don’t think you can rule anything out when it comes to New York’s head coach. If tomorrow you told me Gase had called a press conference and announced that he had traded Sam Darnold to the moon for a bucket of space rocks, I wouldn’t even fact check you.
So the bigger question here is would the Vikings actually want him? Apart from his inability to stay on the field for a full season, in theory I suppose a guy like this is worth a chance. Darnold is just 11-19 in his career, but you hear every expert and analyst tell you he’s shown glimpses of an ability to elevate an NFL offense.
The argument to that is those glimpses have been to few and far between through 2 1/2 seasons. In an all-time pass-happy NFL, Darnold — a man believed to have the arm talent — has only topped the 300-yard mark four times in those 30 starts while failing to reach 200 yards 12 times.
Now can you blame that on the dumpster fire that is the Jets? Sure. But if you’re going to invest draft capital in a possible solution for your future, I don’t wanna be sitting around arguing about whether or not a guy’s surroundings have prevented him from being great.
We’ve already done that once when Vikings fans convinced themselves that the Washington Football Team was the problem and Kirk was the next Joe Montana.
The story of Vikings quarterbacks is one that is already filled with other teams’ throwaways an elderly retreads. We made our bed with Cousins. Let’s face up to the music, suck this entire year, and then try to draft a franchise-changer for the first time since Fran Tarkenton. You know, like they did with Christian Ponder.