NFC North rival will look very different to the Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Matthew Stafford
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Matthew Stafford /

While the Minnesota Vikings are completely expected to move forward with Kirk Cousins and many of the familiar faces surrounding him for the 2021 NFL season, that doesn’t seem to be the case for another NFC North team.

It was previously reported that the Detroit Lions would be actively shopping quarterback Matthew Stafford and it appears as though they were serious about coming to terms on a deal quickly or were made an offer they couldn’t refuse.

According to well-respected insider Adam Schefter and many others, the Lions have agreed to terms on a blockbuster trade that will send Stafford to the Rams in exchange for a player and a haul of draft picks.

Here is what Schefter reveals as the compensation for Detroit on his official Twitter account:

What does this trade mean for the Minnesota Vikings?

Considering the massive contract Jared Goff carries, it should be expected that the Lions will look to get an offensive weapon for their new quarterback and move forward with him as their starter. Goff is entering the first year of his four-year, $134 million extension with a little over $57 million guaranteed according to Spotrac.

The good news for Detroit is that the actual time they will have to evaluate Goff will be two seasons. His contract runs through the guaranteed money quickly and he can be released following the 2022 season with no penalty. This also means the Lions will need to be on the prowl for their quarterback of the future during the transition period. But that also means Minnesota can expect to face off against Goff four times over the next two years, much as ESPN’s Jeff Darlington stated on Twitter.

In addition, the two first-round picks the Lions will own can’t be from the 2021 NFL Draft since that Rams selection is already owned by the Jaguars as part of the trade for Jalen Ramsey. That means the Lions won’t get to use those first-round picks until the 2022 and 2023 drafts respectively. However, the third-round pick will be from the 2021 draft, adding a bit of maneuverability to Detroit’s draft situation.

Detroit could draft their quarterback of the future and essentially eat the contract of Jared Goff, but it is more likely the team will wait and seek their quarterback in one of the next few drafts unless a player they really like is available when the Lions are clock. That means the Honolulu blue is likely to take an offensive weapon with their number seven overall selection.

Expect the team to eye a pass-catcher like Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle with that pick. Or, it’s possible high-potential tight end Kyle Pitts catches their eye leading up to the draft. No matter which player they pick, it is likely it will be someone to play with Goff, and not instead of him. Then, the Lions can accumulate talent with their remaining picks and build toward the future.

Jared Goff shouldn’t strike any fear into fans of the Minnesota Vikings over the next couple of seasons, but the Detroit Lions could be rebuilding toward something special. With all those draft picks over the next few years, they will be a team to keep an eye on in the NFC North.