The Minnesota Vikings should have an eye on who will replace Kirk Cousins, and these three quarterbacks make sense as draft targets.
Kirk Cousins is a too-easy subject of criticism, but such is the life of an NFL quarterback who hasn’t won anything. He has also never missed a start due to injury, in three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and six total seasons as a starter.
Despite playing behind a Vikings’ offensive line that has struggled to protect him, Cousins has been durable. If the season started today, with Sean Mannion still a free agent, Jake Browning or Nate Stanley would be his backup. At this point it’s safe to say if Cousins were to be injured for any significant time in 2021 the Vikings are headed for a top-10 pick in 2022.
The Vikings are attached to Cousins for this year, barring some sort of late trade offer from the San Francisco 49ers. Even though his $35 million base salary for 2022 became fully guaranteed last month, trading him becomes way easier next offseason.
In any case, it makes sense for the Vikings to be thinking about who will replace Cousins, be it in 2022 or far more certainly in 2023. Quarterback isn’t necessarily a top need, so unless there’s a unique opportunity in the first round they won’t be taking one there. With no second-round pick, barring a trade, that leaves the third round as a target area to take a quarterback of the future.
It’s a tad aggressive in some respect, but ESPN’s Courtney Cronin has suggested the Vikings’ 2021 draft success hinges on finding a potential successor for Cousins.
On that note, here are three quarterbacks Minnesota should be targeting in this year’s draft to eventually replace Cousins.
NFL Draft: 3 quarterbacks the Vikings need to target
Trask had a big season at Florida in 2020, 4,283 passing yards (second in the country), 43 touchdowns (best in the country) and just eight interceptions. He is a quintessential pocket passer, but he is garnering a bit of buzz as a late first-round pick. At least one team picking in that area, the New Orleans Saints, apparently likes him.
A few mocks have had the Vikings taking Trask with one of their third-round picks, No. 78 or No. 90. A trade up into the second round to get him, with the third and fourth-round capital (four picks) to move up could happen if they really like him and he’s available.