The Minnesota Vikings finished last season 13-4, kings of the NFC North and firmly in the contenders circle. Or, so we thought. An early postseason exit sparked questions about the validity of Minnesota's winning reputation. Those questions have been amplified tenfold to open the 2023 campaign.
Minnesota is 0-2 after a grueling Thursday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. A six-point loss to the Eagles isn't exactly damning, but it came on the heels of a ghastly Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it involved four crippling turnovers. As the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers make strong early impressions, the Vikings are looking like division underdogs — not favorites.
Now the spotlight shifts to Kirk Cousins, whose future with the team is increasingly uncertain. Cousins is in the final year of his contract and the Vikings have been hesitant to engage in long-term extension talks. Those talks will go nowhere fast if Cousins and the offense can't get back on track, and fast.
If the Vikings find themselves compelled to go in a new direction, the first domino could be a Cousins trade. Here are a few potential options to bear in mind.
NFL Rumors: Vikings could trade Kirk Cousins to Titans
The Tennessee Titans started the season with a whimper, losing 16-15 to the thoroughly uninspiring New Orleans Saints. Ryan Tannehill has been a steady option over the years, but he's middle-of-the-road at best. Last Sunday, he was awful, completing 16-of-34 passes for 198 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions.
This is Tannehill's fifth season as the starting QB in Tennessee. The Titans have ostensibly drafted his replacements — Will Levis or Malik Willis — but Tannehill continues to receive first-team reps. If Mike Vrabel's squad remains committed to winning, and thus desires a veteran QB under center, there's no harm in seeking an upgrade.
Cousins captained Minnesota's offense to the second-most passing yards in the NFL last season. The Titans have a middling collection of receivers, but DeAndre Hopkins is a grizzled vet who could find fast chemistry with Cousins. In the backfield, there isn't a better pure runner in the NFL than Derrick Henry.
Like Cousins, Tannehill is in the last year of his contract. Tennessee would probably feel better about paying the former.
The Vikings load up on draft capital with this trade and get a proven vet to hold the offense over until next season, when a talented young rookie would presumably join the mix. Tannehill doesn't possess a magic arm, but he's a smart game manager who can adequately distribute the ball to a collection of playmakers as talented as Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison.