3 players Vikings should trade not named Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings. (Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings. (Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings. (Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Vikings may look to make some trades this winter not involving Kirk Cousins.

Kirk Cousins may be a trade candidate, but the Minnesota Vikings could move other players before him under a new administration.

It will be a new era of Vikings football with Kevin O’Connell taking over as head coach and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager. This team is expected to push for a playoff berth right out of the gate. Unfortunately, the Vikings have one of the worst cap situations in the NFL. Therefore, they may look to cut a few marquee players, as well as see if they can orchestrate a trade or two.

Here are three Vikings players who could potentially be dealt who are not named Kirk Cousins.

Minnesota Vikings: 3 players not named Kirk Cousins who could be traded

Minnesota Vikings. Adam Thielen. 3. 60. Scouting Report. WR. player. Pick Analysis

Adam Thielen is a career Viking, but has the team seen diminishing returns?

The Vikings have long gotten their bang for the buck on native Minnesotan wide receiver Adam Thielen. Undrafted out of Minnesota State, he has been a two-time Pro Bowler with two 1,000-yard seasons in his eight professional seasons. Thielen is closing in on 500 career receptions and is essentially one aerial strike away from 6,000 career yards and 50 career touchdown catches.

Though he has not had 1,000 receiving yards since 2018, Thielen has not played a full regular season since then either. While he has firmly become the team’s No. 2 receiving option following Justin Jefferson’s explosive emergence into the league out of LSU, have the Vikings begun to see diminishing marginal returns out of Thielen? In yardage and catches, yes, but in touchdowns, no.

Thielen may be on the wrong side of 30, but he should still have a few more years left of great productivity. He does account for 8.01 percent of the Vikings’ cap for 2022. He would be a dead cap hit for $11.1 if released three years early. If cut post June 1, that number goes down to $4.3 million. Thielen will likely stay, but he does carry immense trade value for a receiver-needy team.

The length of his Vikings contract makes it hard to move, but Thielen’s trade value is very palpable.