Both the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans had disappointing seasons in 2020. And, both need to make some changes to find their way forward. For the Texans, it means landing a new quarterback when they trade Deshaun Watson. It’s clear Watson wants out. So much so that his personal trainer is lobbying for him on Twitter.
Nearly every team out there is in the rumor mill of the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes. The Minnesota Vikings are actually in a position to give both Watson and the Texans what they want.
Watson is allegedly miffed with ownership and former character coach turned VP of Football Operations, Jack Easterby.
Enter the Vikings. Team ownership is stable, general manager Rick Spielman has been around the team since 2006, officially taking his current title in 2012. Watson would have plenty of talent around him. Dalvin Cook alone is better than Houston’s entire running back room.
Minnesota also has the ability to trade some assets to the Texans that make a lot of sense for Houston – and do it without overly gutting the Vikings’ future.
Here’s what we propose…
Minnesota Vikings Trade Kirk Cousins For Deshaun Watson
Houston gets Kirk Cousins and Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings also send the 2021 third, fourth and fifth-round picks and the 2022 first and second-round picks to the Texans.
Minnesota currently has two 3rd-rounders, three 4th-rounders and two 5th-rounders in the 2021 draft. So, giving up three of them won’t overly hurt the team. Especially in light of gaining a future Hall of Fame quarterback and freeing cap space. And, there’s plenty of time to trade back into the first and second rounds of 2022 after they’re done with the Super Bowl parade.
Deshaun Watson Trade Helps the Texans
Houston would get a replacement franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins and a great tight end in Rudolph. Sending Cousins’ safety valve to Houston helps the QB immediately. Plus, a raft of draft picks Houston will use to rebuild quickly.
Houston general manger Nick Caserio pulled plenty of starters from the late rounds during the draft while in New England, where he and Bill Belichick ran the draft. Arming him with more picks would help turn the Texans around quickly.
For the Vikings, landing Watson and pairing him with Justin Jefferson would immediately look like the 1998 team all over again. A highly mobile, rocket-armed quarterback throwing to one of the fastest, hardest-to-cover wide receivers and one of the best veteran wideouts in the league? Are we talking about Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss and Cris Carter or Deshaun Watson, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen?
Moving on From Cousins Helps the Vikings
Moving the contracts of Cousins and Rudolph off the books also frees space under the proposed $180-185 million 2021 NFL salary cap for the Vikings. So, Minnesota could use some of that savings to bring in current free agent Will Fuller V. The former Texans receiver is Watson’s favorite target and would make the wide receiver threesome in Minnesota one of the deadliest in the league.
Putting Deshaun Watson in the Vikings locker room instantly makes them a Super Bowl contender. In 2020, Watson threw for 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns, only seven picks and a QBR of 70.5. So, imagine if he threw to Jefferson and Thielen?
And Watson did that with no run game to speak of, no defensive dominance to help him out and losing Fuller V for the final four games of the year.
Cousins already has ties to the Houston area. He would take the sting out of losing Watson for the Texans fanbase, and Cousins would fit the Houston culture well.
Replacing Cousins with Watson changes everything in the Northland. Watson has won a championship at every level of competition except the NFL. So, putting him on the Vikings would get him, and the franchise, that much closer to the elusive Lombardi Trophy.