Major NFL voices — which most days of the week and especially Sunday means "NFL Twitter" (sorry, still calling it that) — had barely registered their sympathy for the Vikings' Kirk Cousins and his season-ending injury when they shifted into full-on speculation mode.
Of course everyone feels bad. But there's precious little time for feelings. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, the Vikings are on a three-game winning streak, and suddenly a team that had one of the most stable (at least in 2023) quarterback situations potentially has one of the most chaotic situations.
Cousins' durability is one of his finest and most remarkable traits, but that never meant he was invincible — something Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Still, if the Vikings were preparing to answer the question about their long-term future at quarterback at the end of the season when Cousins is set to be a free agent they are instead now trying to gauge what to do in the short-term, medium-term and long-term.
The potential answers range from the boring to the outlandish. Let's start with the wildest suggestion first:
No, you're not the only one to suggest Brady as an option. But it's not going to happen. The Vikings have precious little cap space. They have a long-term quarterback need not a 46-year-old QB need. Oh, and let's remember: We're only a few weeks removed from them being 1-4 and Cousins getting asked if he would consider a trade to a contender.
Yes, head coach Kevin O'Connell has a relationship with Brady. But if the Vikings weren't a Super Bowl contender with Cousins — which they weren't — they aren't with Brady.
Along the same lines, Matt Ryan has been suggested.
Again, I just don't see it. Ryan was never a mobile quarterback, and he was a below-average QB in his final two seasons.
Reusse tossed out the idea of Carson Wentz, which does have a certain appeal in this sense: high ceiling, low floor. You could go on a run with the best version, or lose a bunch of games and get a high pick at his worst. And he might not be that expensive as he tries to resurrect his career at age 30. But his best season was six years and several injuries ago, and his hero ball seems an odd fit for Kevin O'Connell's preferences.
I'm intrigued by the idea of pursuing Patriots QB Mac Jones as both a short-term and potential long-term solution. He's slumped for the 2-6 Patriots, who might be inclined to play for a high draft pick and a new QB in 2024.
For maybe a third-round pick — just my guess — Jones could be a starter for the rest of the year and is still on his rookie contract in 2024 as well, providing an option for next year. But he'd be coming into a new system midyear, and a deal would have to be done before Tuesday's deadline.
You'll find plenty of other names on various lists like this one but this is the truth: None are better than the 2023 version of Cousins, and most don't inspire much more confidence than rookie Jaren Hall or potentially Nick Mullens after he returns from injured reserve.
The boring solution is to ride out the year with in-house options and see where you are heading into 2024 — with the potential of either retaining Cousins after he rehabs his injury or drafting your QB of the future.
Until we know more, though, it's speculation season.