Kirk Cousins unlikely to waive no-trade clause; will this hurt the Vikings?

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

“Tanking” has become the popular discourse around the Minnesota Vikings after a sluggish start to the 2023 campaign. Quarterback Kirk Cousins garners much of the attention, as the veteran has frequently been tossed around in trade talks within the media.

Kirk Cousins Will Not Accept A Trade; Will The Vikings Miss Out On A Top-Tier QB Prospect?

However, Cousins is reportedly unlikely to waive his no-trade clause to help a mid-season trade come to fruition. And for what it is worth, there have been zero reports from the Vikings that would indicate they are actively shopping the 35-year-old anyway. But still, the talks will persist until the Oct. 31 trade deadline passes.

The 2024 NFL Draft class boasts several potential franchise centerpieces at quarterback, including Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Michael Penix Jr., and others. Thanks to Cousins’ play, Minnesota is likely to select too far down the draft board to land any of those names.

While a trade-up is always in the cards, Cousins’ refusal to help orchestrate a trade could put the Vikings directly behind the 8-ball at next year’s NFL Draft. Not only will it push them down the order, but the franchise won’t receive anything in return for the veteran signal-caller — aside from a potential compensation pick.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell is the correct man to lead Minnesota into a new era of football. And it’s all but guaranteed that will begin this coming offseason. Could Cousins return and serve as the bridge to whatever quarterback is taken at the 2024 NFL Draft? Would the aging veteran really want to waste away his final seasons in the league? It’s possible, but far from likely.

Cousins Will Have Plenty Of Suitors In Free Agency

As far as teams that will have interest in a free agent with the pedigree of Cousins? There are plenty. The Buccaneers, Falcons, Giants, Titans, and Patriots would surely kick the tires, potentially forming a competitive market for the long-time signal-caller. Regardless of which team Cousins ends up with, the Vikings will receive a compensation pick, though it’s unlikely to be a premium one.

For the Vikings? There is no shortage of ways to acquire their “next” franchise player. I expect the team to play its way out of a top-five selection, but given the rest of the order, there’s a distinct possibility that Minnesota could trade up to secure Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. Even if they don’t, the 8-12 range is a sweet spot for the next tier of quarterbacks.

Michael Penix Jr., Quinn Ewers, J.J. McCarthy, and Bo Nix have all been taken inside the top 10 in mock drafts the past few weeks. Some of those names are riskier than others, but having O’Connell steering the ship — along with Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison — the Vikings are arguably the best landing spot for any rookie passer.

Alas, a Kirk Cousins trade won’t happen unless Cousins demands it happens. Minnesota won’t have a top-five pick at the 2024 NFL Draft if Cousins isn’t traded. But thanks to an overwhelming amount of talent at the collegiate level, tanking isn’t necessary to find the long-term QB1. It may not feel like it today, but rest assured Vikings fans — the future is bright.