Is trading Kirk Cousins a possibility for the Vikings?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /

Can the Vikings trade Cousins in 2021?

The simple answer is yes. But the likely answer is no.

Unfortunately, Kirk Cousins‘ performance this season probably won’t have a ton of impact on his future in Minnesota. The Vikings expressed their longterm commitment to Cousins when they gave him his extension back in March, so they likely won’t be giving up on him with two years still remaining on his contract.

Egos would probably get in the way of Minnesota trading or releasing the veteran quarterback in 2021 as well.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is the one who convinced everyone that Cousins could be “the guy” under center for the franchise. Parting ways with the quarterback next year would be an admission by Spielman that he was wrong about Cousins and the Minnesota general manager is not known for owning his mistakes in a timely manner (see Matt Kalil).

The financial implications of showing Cousins the door are a little better for the Vikings in 2021 compared to the current season.

A release prior to June 1, 2021 would result in $41 million in dead cap and a loss of $10 million in cap space for Minnesota. Cutting Cousins after June 1 in 2021 would result in $76 million in dead cap until 2022 and a loss of $35 million in cap space.

So, once again, the Vikings releasing the quarterback before 2022 is extremely unlikely. But what about trading him?

If Minnesota was able to deal Cousins before June 1, 2021, they would only have to deal with $20 million in dead cap and the move would free up $11 million in cap space. A trade completed after June 1 in 2021 would create $21 million in cap space and the Vikings would have $10 million in dead cap from his contract in both 2021 and 2022.

Cousins getting traded in 2021 is certainly more likely than it is for this season. But the chance still isn’t high enough yet to believe that Minnesota would even explore a potential trade for their current quarterback.

Chance Cousins is traded in 2021?: 15 percent