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Report: Panthers called Vikings about Kirk Cousins

Mike Florio and Charean Williams discuss Kevin O'Connell's ability to call plays and if he's ready to step up to the plate for the Minnesota Vikings.

The quarterback carousel will soon be spinning. Before it happens (and as it happens), plenty of calls will be made between plenty of teams regarding plenty of possible transactions.

Here’s one that came out of the blue on Monday. Judd Zulgad of SKOR North reported, via Anthony Rizzuti of, that the Panthers have called the Vikings about a potential trade for quarterback Kirk Cousins.

The Panthers are desperate to find a franchise quarterback, and they need to show a significant uptick in performance in 2022 to save the regime of coach Matt Rhule. Cousins, while not good enough in four seasons to take the Vikings beyond the divisional round, has generated solid performances. The Panthers, in recent years, have done worse.

Cousins has a fully-guaranteed salary of $35 million for 2022 and a cap number in Minnesota of $45 million. It’s the last year of his deal, and the franchise tag for 2023 would cost more than $60 million, given that Washington already has tagged him twice and that he’d be in line for a 44-percent raise over his 2022 cap number.

“They have gotten a call,” Zulgad said of the Vikings. “Now, from what I’ve heard, it went nowhere so far. But it’s interesting that the phone did ring . . . and on the other end of the line . . . the Carolina Panthers.”

The Vikings said that they don’t plan to trade Cousins as of now, per Zulgad. That could change, frankly, if the Vikings try to get Cousins to sign an extension that reduces his cap number and he resists. PFT has reported that Cousins plans to take a wait-and-see approach regarding his future, although the hiring of coach Kevin O’Connell is viewed as a positive.

Cousins reportedly refuses to take a pay cut, which shouldn’t be regarded as a surprise by anyone. His $35 million for 2022 is fully guaranteed. Why reduce it? If he’s cut, he still gets every penny.

Since parting ways with Cam Newton two years ago, the Panthers have cycled through Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold. The Panthers owe Darnold $18.8 million fully guaranteed for 2022.

Plenty of Vikings fans would like to move on from Cousins. Until there’s a better option on board, however, trading Cousins entails significant risk.