While we haven’t even gotten to Training Camp in 2019 yet, there are already folks that are looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft, and one expert in particular is projecting a pretty significant change for the Minnesota Vikings.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports has put together his list of the Top 10 teams that are most likely to select a quarterback with a high pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Vikings are, not surprisingly, one of the teams that he lists.
Here’s what Edholm has to say about the Vikings’ current QB situation:
Year 1 of the Cousins deal didn’t net the desired results the Vikings thought they were paying for, and he’s now facing the prospect of delivering now or facing fans’ wrath to an even greater level before long. Cousins enters this season needing to prove the Vikings didn’t make a major mistake with his fully guaranteed contract that ends in 2021. It’s certainly not too late for that to happen, of course.
But there’s also some tension around the situation for that ever fully happening, so the time to find a potential successor could be nigh next April. Sloter might carry some mild intrigue, and Mannion has always had his share of defenders on Twitter, but there’s a solid case for the Vikings being on the lookout starting next year for a draft QB.
The team has used first-round picks on QBs Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater in relatively recent history but last used a lower pick on a passer on John David Booty all the way back in 2008. We could see them ending that streak in 2020, perhaps passing on a QB in Round 1 but seeking one thereafter who could use a year or more of grooming as Cousins’ potential replacement.
Obviously, a lot of this depends on Cousins’ performance this coming season, I would think. If he has a great season and leads the Vikings to the sort of year that we were expecting in 2018, then it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Vikings to work out some sort of extension with Cousins during the 2020 offseason.
However, should the team fail to meet expectations again, you could definitely make an argument that the Vikings should be spending their first-round pick in 2020 on a quarterback. The 2020 class at the position is supposed to be pretty loaded, and the Vikings could bring a young quarterback into a situation where he wouldn’t be expected to play in his first season while Cousins plays out his contract. Then, starting in 2021, the Vikings could give him the reigns and free themselves of Cousins’ massive salary cap hit to enhance the rest of the team and/or retain players that have proven that they deserve it.
Of course, Kirk Cousins and the Vikings could make this entire discussion moot with a great 2019 season. . .but, unless and until that happens, logic like this makes complete sense to me.