How Za’Darius Smith trade impacts Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins | You Pod To Win The Game

Yahoo Sports senior NFL reporters Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein look at the future of two of Minnesota’s core offensive players after a recent trade with Cleveland. Hear the full conversation on “You Pod To Win The Game” - and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video transcript


CHARLES ROBINSON: I'm just curious, particularly given Minnesota-- you're giving away a piece, you bring in Brian Flores obviously to be your defensive coordinator, you're giving away a piece that maybe didn't fit part of what he wanted to do defensively. But now, with this Cook sort of chatter on top of it, and it hasn't happened yet, we're going to wait and see if it does, does it feel like the Vikings are in a-- maybe the beginnings of a pivot that is probably going to happen tied to Kirk Cousins? I feel like we're Smith, maybe Cook.

There's a question. How much longer is Cousins going to be there? It looks like it's probably only going to be 2023. I don't want to say it's a rebuild. But it's definitely a pivot of sorts that's happening under Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell.

JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, so to use Kwesi's terminology, a competitive rebuild. And the reason he likes that terminology, which, yeah, it sounds a little [? PRey. ?] But the idea is blowing it all up doesn't guarantee that it's going to build back up that-- the way you want it. And so it's not, let's get rid of everyone. Clearly, they still have some really strong players in their prime. Justin Jefferson is obviously line one with that. But it's, OK, we have some things we need to do. Let's sell it off. It's not quite as drastic as the Rams trading away almost all of their stars.

But it is slowly making a little bit of move accumulating draft capital. And another big philosophy for Kwesi is, how many darts do you have to throw at the dartboard for the draft? And so he just accumulated a lot of picks in this. They're later-round picks. But he gave them-- I mean, if you think about the late-round picks and you have four of them to hit on or whatever that is, then you have a better chance of hitting on someone.

So I agree. I think that, does that mean something for Kirk Cousins this year? I don't think so. But does that mean something for Kirk Cousins next year? Yeah. And then the question is also, what other capital do you have to maybe trade up for the quarterback move that you want? So I think that it doesn't seem like someone who thinks 2023 is the prime Super Bowl window.

Now that doesn't mean they won't be competitive this year. And this is still a team that had a fantastic regular season last year as we've talked about on this podcast. There might be a little bit of we were really on the edge on a lot of those games. And maybe, that says something about the roster we have, and what we should do if we're looking at a three-year outlook.

CHARLES ROBINSON: It's going to say a lot, I think, about the organization watching them the next two offseasons. Well, really, even the offseason after the next season, I think, is going to say a lot because I'm just curious how they're navigating this and what the end goal is in terms of a quarterback. Where are you going to get your quarterback from? And how are you ultimately going to pay them?