In recent weeks, the Minnesota Vikings have somehow found themselves at the center of the Baker Mayfield sweepstakes. How and why?
Your guess is as good as mine. The former number one overall pick is currently looking for a new team because the Cleveland Browns recently traded for Deshaun Watson. Mayfield would like to go somewhere that will allow him to compete for the starting job.
That place is not Minnesota.
The only explanation why the Vikings would even entertain this is if they were in the market for a competent backup. One of the main things new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needed to take care of upon his arrival was the situation with quarterback Kirk Cousins’ contract. Cousins was due 45 million in 2022; this was deemed too high and needed to be adjusted to a more reasonable figure so the Vikings could operate flexibly in free agency.
Trading for Mayfield would also mean trading for his contract, although the Browns would take a portion of the cap hit. Still, it would make absolutely no sense to pay someone close to starting QB money, especially when they will be backing up one of the most durable players in the league.
The only other option is if the Vikings saw Baker Mayfield as a younger, cheaper long-term option when Kirk Cousins’ contract runs out in 2 years. But that would mean Adofo-Mensah and new head coach Kevin O’Connell have actively decided to get worse at the most important position in all of sport.
Cousins is arguably the most polarizing player to put on the purple and gold. A good majority believe he is a very good quarterback, and with the right personnel, he can lead the Minnesota Vikings to their first Super Bowl triumph. Others aren’t convinced by Cousins and believe the Vikings should move on.
But one thing every Vikings fan can agree on is that Mayfield is a significant downgrade at the position that would take the team back a long way.
There is almost no adequate reason for the Vikings to even consider trading for Mayfield other than he will cost less than Cousins in the long run and that he is younger. In four years since Baker Mayfield was drafted, he has 92 touchdowns and 48 interceptions. During that same time, Cousins has 124 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. That’s just one of the very many comparisons that show the significant difference in productivity between Cousins and Baker. Cheaper and younger is not always a good thing.
Vikings fans should really start appreciating what they have at the quarterback position. Cousins has operated at an elite level for years now, without any sort of protection from his offensive line. In 2021 Cousins and the offense not only had to overcome a terrible offensive line. They had to overcome the 24th overall defense, too.