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Are the Vikings actually in play for Baker Mayfield?

Probably not.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Ever since the Cleveland Browns made the huge trade to acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, questions have swirled around them about the fate of quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former No. 1 overall pick clearly has no place in Cleveland as things stand right now and doesn’t appear to want to wait to see whether or not Watson is suspended for a significant length of time before moving on.

The Browns are likely looking to move Mayfield to another team, but who could that team be? The Minnesota Vikings are not one that immediately comes to mind, but behind the great E$PN paywall Dan Graziano has (apparently) heard rumblings that the Vikings could be an “outside the box” destination for a potential Mayfield trade.

They’re set this season with Kirk Cousins but could move on from him after the year. This is an example of a place where Mayfield or Garoppolo wouldn’t start right away but could position himself as the team’s starter in 2023, the way Winston did with the Saints in 2020. That could be possible elsewhere, including with the Buccaneers, Eagles, Cardinals, Titans, and Raiders.

I have to be honest. . .I’d be absolutely stunned if the Vikings were to swing a deal for Baker Mayfield. He’s in the fifth-year option season of his rookie contract, a contract that gives him a guaranteed figure of $18.9 million. That’s a lot of money for a guy that, very likely, wouldn’t even see the field in Minnesota given Kirk Cousins’ durability. Any sort of deal that would occur between the Browns and the Vikings would have to see Cleveland eat a significant chunk of that salary figure in order for the purple to get him on board.

Now, if the Browns were to just let Mayfield go rather than attempt to trade him, the Vikings would likely have some kind of interest. However, the Browns are likely to have enough potential suitors for Mayfield’s services that they’re not going to have to just cut him loose.

Sure, stranger things have happened than the Vikings making a deal for Baker Mayfield. But it just isn’t a thing that I think has any real chance of happening, whether it’s inside or outside of the proverbial box.