E Point Perfect

Vikings Called ‘Wild Card’ in Lamar Jackson Sweepstakes


Dec 4, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have quarterback Kirk Cousins under contract for one more season. He has been the Vikings’ passer for five seasons with little team success, which is not entirely his fault in a sport that requires the whole 53-man roster to win. However, the Vikings must prepare for life after Cousins, and one electric player could be available.

Lamar Jackson was the MVP of the league in 2019, in his second season in the league after playing a handful of games in 2018 as a rookie. As a run-first quarterback, Jackson has probably been the best ever to do it in the modern NFL, as he led the league in passing touchdowns in his MVP campaign with 36.

Vikings Called
Oct 16, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

In the last couple of years, the quarterback struggled with injuries, missing multiple games in the second half of the season. That cost his team the postseason in 2021, and he also missed the Ravens’ lone playoff game in 2022 against the Bengals.

Vikings Called ‘Wild Card’ in Lamar Jackson Sweepstakes

His four-year rookie contract and the fifth-year option are now expired, and Jackson demands a new contract. The Ravens’ front office is hesitating.

Now, the Vikings were called “wild card” in the sweepstakes to get the former MVP by CBSSports’ Cody Benjamin, who named potential landing spots for Jackson, and the current Vikings quarterback is playing a role, in his opinion.

Kirk Cousins’ numbers were actually less efficient under Kevin O’Connell, but he proved more resilient than perhaps ever before. Still, fresh off an early playoff exit, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who’s publicly pondered Cousins’ ceiling in the past, could be a candidate to explore trades. And Jackson might be one of the few vets worth pursuing, considering Minnesota isn’t in a great position to draft a long-term prospect.

Cody Benjamin, CBSSports.com

Nov 7, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings want to move on from Cousins, Jackson is probably the best alternative. He is only 26 years old and has some time left in the league. However, his durability is a big red flag, as he missed 11 total games in the last couple of seasons. In addition to already having an injury history, his playing style is not in his favor.

He is playing the quarterback position almost like a running back. Just like his old team, his potential new team would use him as a running quarterback, making him one of the most exciting players to watch in NFL history.

Jackson doesn’t possess elite pocket passing skills and needs his exciting running ability to be an electric top-10 quarterback. That running style obviously increases his injury risk, and most players with similar styles decline in their mid-to-late 20s.

Dec 4, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) would leave the game after being sacked in the second quarter by Denver Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper (53) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Another reason not to target the quarterback is that the new team would have to fully commit to him and rebuild the offense for his playing style. The offensive line and the receiving corps must be perfect for his skill set to maximize his abilities. Justin Jefferson is used to getting targeted about ten times per game, while Jackson’s offenses run more than they pass. A decline in targets is probably not what the star wideout would like.

The former Heisman Trophy winner saw his level of play decline in the last two injury-plagued years. He threw for a combined 33 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, gaining about 5,000 yards in the air in 24 games. Jackson added roughly 1,500 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.

The most likely scenario is that Jackson is staying in Baltimore and either playing under the franchise tag or with a new contract, but it is interesting to see the Vikings mentioned among possible suitors. Since the Vikings already have a solid quarterback, it is more likely that the front office will try to find his successor in the draft and not in the NFL.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt


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