Rivers' Retirement Could Help the Vikings Land Watson

Photo Credit: Rich Barnes (USA TODAY Sports)

Last week Philip Rivers retired as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks never to win a championship. After 16 years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, he joined an Indianapolis Colts team with championship aspirations this year and now leaves them in a predicament.

Going into next season, Indianapolis has a roster primed for contention but lack a quarterback — kind of like the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. This offseason will be quarterback musical chairs, and the draft potentially has five starting-caliber quarterbacks in the first round.

It might be in the Vikings’ best interest to take advantage of the Colts’ situation.

With names like Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Deshaun Watson potentially on the move, Minnesota might be able to get off the Cousins contract. I get it; moving Cousins is unlikely. But in Indianapolis’ desperation, they might inquire about the former Michigan State signal-caller.

The initial speculation was that Colts head coach Frank Reich would attempt to make a move for Carson Wentz, Reich’s starting quarterback when he was the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator during their run to the Super Bowl in 2018. However, despite Wentz’ struggles this season — he led the league in interceptions — and Jalen Hurts’ solid play as his backup, Eagles ownership, and Howie Roseman are committed to the former NDSU quarterback.

The Houston Texans are unlikely to trade Watson to an NFC team, and with the San Francisco 49ers “monitoring Stafford’s situation closely,” the Vikings could cash in on Cousins and make a push for Watson with the capital they acquired.

Again, I know that this is super unlikely, but with how the Colts have constructed their roster to contend now, it might be better for them to look for a veteran play-caller — even if he is a middling quarterback — and pair him with that offensive line and run game. This way, Minnesota could get out of the final two years of his deal while making an all-out effort to get Watson, helping both teams’ futures at quarterback.

The Colts would trade for the Vikings’ first-round pick (No. 14). Indianapolis has the 21st pick and would most likely miss out on all five first-round quarterbacks. At 14, the Colts could move up and acquire a quarterback before the New England Patriots pick at 15. Minnesota is making a play for draft capital in this scenario, potentially recouping a second-round pick after losing theirs in the Yannick Ngakoue trade, adding to their already massive war chest of picks.

This would allow the Vikings to mitigate risk by taking a plethora of players in a year where opt-outs and the lack of a combine have created uncertainty in the draft. It would also give the Vikings more maneuverability in the middle rounds, allowing them to select players who slipped past their projected spot of selection.

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Photo Credit: Rich Barnes (USA TODAY Sports)

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