The Minnesota Vikings selected a player who they believe will be a starting offensive tackle for years to come when they chose Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech with the No. 23 pick overall in the first round.
However, Darrisaw may not have been their primary objective when the NFL Draft got underway April 29. The Vikings had the No. 14 pick and traded their selection to the New York Jets, but that deal was their second choice.
Instead of sending their pick to the Jets, the Vikings were more interested in dealing with the Carolina Panthers. Carolina had the No. 8 pick in the first round, and the Vikings were interested in acquiring that pick and drafting Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, according to Mike Florio of NFL Talk.
The insider suggested that an NFL source said that the Vikings wanted to bring the Buckeye quarterback on board to challenge the reign of quarterback Kirk Cousins.
The Vikings were not able to make such a deal, and Fields was ultimately selected by the Chicago Bears with the No. 11 pick. The Bears acquired that selection in a deal with the New York Giants. Had the Vikings moved up to No. 8, they could have selected Fields before the Bears had a chance to make their move. The Vikings will likely have to face Fields two times per year for the foreseeable future.
General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer have not confirmed the story, and they are not likely to any time in the foreseeable future. However, if the Vikings made a major effort to get the athletic quarterback, it could have an impact on incumbent starter Kirk Cousins for the 2021 season and beyond.
Cousins is a quarterback who understands that unless your name is Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, there are no certainties in the NFL. His overall numbers may be strong, but there is plenty of competition out there and critics will always point out weaknesses.
Cousins was unable to establish himself as the long-term quarterback with the Washington franchise during his six years with that team, and he has as many critics as he does supporters in Minnesota.
Cousins has had three excellent statistical seasons with the Vikings. He completed 70.1 percent of his passes and had a 30-10 TD-interception ration in 2018. He followed that by completing 69.1 percent of his passes with a 26-6 TD-interception ration in 2019. It was more of the same in 2020 as he completed 67.6 percent of his passes with a 35-13 TD-interception ratio last year.
However, the problem is that Cousins has rarely had his best games against Minnesota’s toughest opponents. He helped the team to a road win over Green Bay last year, but he has regularly failed to impress against the Packers.
When the Vikings won a road playoff game against the New Orleans Saints after the 2019 season, Cousins was unable to lead Minnesota to a competitive effort in the divisional playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers the following week.
The Bears are filled with hope that Fields can become their No. 1 quarterback in the near future and can give them a major upgrade at the position. The information that the Vikings were also in the market for Fields gives the Bears choice that much more credibility.