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5 Minnesota Vikings quarterback options for 2022 season

Vincent Frank

The Minnesota Vikings have officially been eliminated from playoff contention following Sunday night’s blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Playing without Kirk Cousins (COVID-19), the Vikes couldn’t do anything on offense with Sean Mannion under center. Their defense didn’t have a chance against Aaron Rodgers and Co.

With rumors swirling about Mike Zimmer’s future in the Twin Cities, we’re also going to hear more about whether Cousins fits into Minnesota’s future.

Statistically, Cousins has been pretty good in Minnesota. Unfortunately, he continues to come up small when it counts the most (32-29-1 record with the Vikings). Cousins, 33, is also slated to count a whopping $45 million against the cap in 2022. Minnesota can get out from under that via a trade while saving roughly $10 million.

  • Kirk Cousins stats: 66.4% completion, 3,971 yards, 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 101.3 rating

It’s not yet known whether the Vikings will blow things up this coming off-season. In addition to Zimmer, general manager Rick Spielman could very well be on the hot seat. How that plays out will have a huge role in the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation. Below, we look at five options for the team.

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Minnesota Vikings roll with Kellen Mond

minnesota vikings quarterback kellen mond
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It says something that Minnesota opted to start Mannion over this rookie third-round pick. Here’s a dude who had not thrown a regular-season pass since 2019 before starting Week 17. Heck, Zimmer noted ahead of the game that he didn’t even really consider starting Kellen Mond.

“There really wasn’t. We knew that Sean was coming back, and Sean is extremely bright, he studies like crazy, he’s a great competitor,” Zimmer told reporters. “He’s put in his time, he’s earned this opportunity, and I think he’ll do great.”

So, where does this leave Mond? Short of the Vikings blowing up their roster and rebuilding, it seems illogical to believe Mond would be the unquestioned starter in 2022.

Even then, finances certainly could play a role here. Eating $35 million in a dead cap hit by trading Cousins would put Minnesota behind the proverbial eight-ball. With Mond slated to count $1.19 million against the cap in 2022, he’d be a cheap option.

Related: Kirk Cousins trade scenarios from the Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings trade for Jimmy Garoppolo

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
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The idea here would be to swap Cousins for Jimmy GQ and use the latter as a stopgap option in front of Mond. It’s not that Garoppolo is better than Cousins. Statistically, he isn’t. But Minnesota would be able to add a draft pick or two in this hypothetical trade with San Francisco. We know just how much 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan loves Cousins. Why not try to take advantage of that?

For San Francisco, the idea would be to have Cousins start for one season until rookie No. 3 pick Trey Lance is ready to go. This could make sense for both sides.

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Minnesota Vikings stick with Kirk Cousins

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
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Regardless of who is calling the shots, this seems to be the most-likely scenario. Cousins’ cap hit is an albatross at this point. We’re not 100% sure what he might net the Vikings in a potential trade or who might be interested.

As noted above, Cousins has been a darn good statistical quarterback since joining the Vikes back in 2018. If no other upgrades present themselves, retaining Cousins for at least one more season would make the most sense.

Minnesota Vikings trade for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun-Watson-against-Miami-Dolphins
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Of course, any potential interest in Watson comes with a caveat. He’s still facing accusations of sexual misconduct from north of 20 women with civil cases pending and potential criminal charges headed in Watson’s direction.

What we do know is that Watson would be a major upgrade on the field over Cousins. If this situation were settled to his liking, the Vikings should pounce. That’s true even if the cost is multiple first-round picks and a couple young players. The idea of Watson teaming up with Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson would be just too sexy.

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Minnesota Vikings trade for Russell Wilson

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
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If Minnesota opts to go big-game hunting for a new quarterback, Wilson would make the most sense. He’s legitimately likely done in Seattle amid rumors that the Super Bowl quarterback is at a tipping point with the Seahawks’ organization.

It’s also highly likely that Wilson would want to join a contender. Minnesota would definitely be that with the future Hall of Famer teaming up with Cook and Jefferson. He also has to like how committed the Vikings have been to improving their offensive line.

  • Kirk Cousins contract: $45 million cap hit in 2022, free agent in 2023
  • Russell Wilson contract: $37 million cap hit in 2022, $40 million in 2023

As you can see, the contracts pretty much align. Perhaps, Seattle decides it can still contend for a playoff spot sans Wilson. Adding Cousins to the mix as a bridge would make sense under this guise. Picking up multiple future first-round picks would also help the retooling process in the Pacific Northwest.

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