How far would Justin Fields have fallen in the draft if Chicago hadn’t drafted him 11th overall? Not far.
According to ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin, the Bears’ division-rival was prepared to draft Fields if still available at 14. The Vikings were reportedly “stunned” when Chicago acquired the Giants’ No. 11 pick, costing Minnesota a chance at landing its future franchise quarterback. When Minnesota’s fallback option, Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater, came off the board at 13, the Vikes decided to trade back in the first round, ultimately landing Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw with the 23rd pick.
The Vikings did eventually address quarterback, finally pulling the trigger on Texas A&M dual threat Kellen Mond in the third round. So he wouldn’t be blindsided, the Vikings kept incumbent Kirk Cousins in the loop, alerting the veteran that Minnesota would likely take a quarterback at some point during the draft. Once Carolina and Denver both passed on Fields, GM Rick Spielman began testing the trade waters, seeing if there was a path for the Vikes to move up for one of Fields or Slater. Minnesota couldn’t match the exorbitant price Chicago was offering for the 11th pick, putting to bed any hope of Fields becoming a Viking.
Cousins would appear to be on notice after an inconsistent 2020 that saw the two-time Pro Bowler throw for 35 touchdowns—a career-high—while also committing 18 turnovers (13 interceptions, five lost fumbles). Including a $10-million signing bonus he’s owed, Cousins’ cap hit in 2022, his final year under contract, will be a whopping $45 million. That’s pretty steep for a 32-year-old with one career playoff win.
Cronin doesn’t see Mond as an immediate threat to Cousins, though not everyone is of that belief. Cousins’ former teammate Robert Griffin III said over the weekend he could see Mond pushing for QB1 status in Minnesota as soon as this year.