Vikings, Kirk Cousins get last laugh in Baker Mayfield trade

Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings

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Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings got the last laugh in the Baker Mayfield trade.

There was a time where the Carolina Panthers may have inquired about Kirk Cousins’ availability, but in the aftermath of the Baker Mayfield trade with the Cleveland Browns, it is Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings who got the last laugh.

Prior to Cousins signing an extension to stay in Minnesota, Carolina reportedly kicked the tires on potentially trading for the Vikings’ Pro Bowl quarterback. But once news of this rumor got out, Carolina tried to laugh it off.

Well … guess who is laughing now?

Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins got the last laugh on the Baker Mayfield trade

No matter who is starting games under center for the Panthers (Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Matt Corral, P.J. Walker, etc.), none of them are going to play better than Cousins will. On his best day, Mayfield is a top-half starting quarterback in the NFL. Cousins has been that, bare minimum, since his rise to prominence in Washington more than half a decade ago. He has played like a top-10.

With the offensive-minded Kevin O’Connell taking over in Minnesota, Cousins has a chance to truly be the best version of himself in this era of Vikings football. He has weapons galore with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen outside the numbers, Dalvin Cook in the backfield and an emerging star in the making in Irv Smith Jr. at tight end. The Panthers have guys, but not like the Vikings do.

More importantly, O’Connell will face nowhere near the amount of pressure as his Carolina counterpart Matt Rhule will this season. Rhule’s seat is getting mighty toasty. Owner David Tepper has earned his reputation for having a quick trigger finger. While the Panthers may be a borderline playoff team in a bad NFC South, Minnesota could win the NFC North if Green Bay underwhelms.

Without question, the Vikings have the infinitely higher ceiling than do the Panthers this season. Not to say Minnesota can get to and win the Super Bowl, but an elite Cam Newton ain’t walking through that door in Charlotte. All the while, Minnesota did not have to give up anything to retain a far superior quarterback. The Panthers took on bad money and surrendered a pick to get Mayfield.

At this point in time, the future seems infinitely brighter in Minneapolis than it does in Charlotte.

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