4 rookie QBs Vikings should trade up for to replace Kirk Cousins

If Cousins doesn't return, the Vikings might be forced to swing a deal.

Minnesota Vikings, Michael Penix Jr.
Minnesota Vikings, Michael Penix Jr. / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Just a couple days ago, we got some interesting information on Minnesota Vikings impending free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Peter King of NBC Sports revealed on "The Cook and Joe Show" that Cousins "would not be coming back to Minnesota on a 1-year contract."

For an aging veteran coming off an Achilles tear, it's quite a lot to ask. Would the Vikings really entertain the idea of a multi-year deal for Cousins at 36 years old?

That's something they'll have to think long and hard about, and if it came down to it, maybe Minnesota looks at the 2024 NFL Draft class instead. Right now, there are four quarterbacks worth trading up to land, if you're the Vikings coming up from no. 11 overall.

4. Michael Penix Jr., Washington

If there was a situation that could help mask some of the flaws we might see out of Michael Penix Jr. as a rookie, it's Minnesota. Penix is a pocket passer with enough mobility to manipulate the pocket at times, but he won't be a threat with his legs.

His rocket arm is one of the most tantalizing traits he possesses, and for an offense like Minnesota's, that's a big quality. Minnesota has some legitimate weapons, obviously, in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson. Penix has the arm to get them the ball downfield.

At times, he looks for the big play rather than the easy read, but that's something Kevin O'Connell will be able to help coach. All in all, Penix can be a starting-caliber quarterback, even as a rookie. He's a smart football player who can analyze a lot of what's happening pre-snap and make adjustments on the fly. He's accurate on intermediate and deep passes.

For a college prospect, Penix has a lot of what you're looking for in an NFL starter. The arm is there. The vision and ability to read a defense is there. He can go through progressions well. Penix is a legit first-round talent whom the Vikings might not have to trade up far to get.