The Vikings should put in a claim for Baker Mayfield
Every once in a while, there is a player that appears on waivers that shouldn’t. There can be quite a few reasons for that, but the main reason tends to be a player that is stuck on a losing team going nowhere after the trade deadline.
After the news was broken by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Panthers were planning to waive Baker Mayfield, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Mayfield had asked for his release.
Source said Baker Mayfield release was a ‘mutual agreement,’ as Mayfield asked for release and #Panthers honored request. He wasn’t in plans. (@RapSheet 1st on release)
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 5, 2022
With Mayfield set to be available, there likely isn’t a situation where he would be available to the Minnesota Vikings — especially with San Francisco having just lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season — but if he were to make it to the Vikings in waivers (at either 30 or 31), the Vikings shouldn’t hesitate to put in a claim.
Yes, there are some issues with Mayfield. He has all the arm talent in the world which made him the first overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft.
He came out of the gates hot in 2018 but struggled in his sophomore season with Freddie Kitchens as the play caller. Once Kevin Stefanski took over as head coach, Mayfield played really well within the system that he brought over from Minnesota.
His 2021 season left a lot to be desired, but Mayfield gutted through it with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The stats showed that with a completion percentage of only 60.5%, 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Browns immediately tried to replace him and did so with Deshaun Watson, whom they traded the farm to acquire.
The Browns traded him to the Panthers and things didn’t go quite as planned. In seven games, he threw for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions with only 57.8% completion.
The offense would be semi-familiar to him, as Kevin O’Connell’s system is an offshoot of what he ran with the Browns.
Where does he sit with the Vikings? He would be the ultimate insurance policy for Kirk Cousins. Sure, Nick Mullens is a good backup quarterback, but what happens if he has to play extensively? Mayfield would give the Vikings a very talented, high-upside option for a 10-2 team that has struggled to keep Cousins upright.
The cap charge for claiming Mayfield would be approximately $1.4 million and the Vikings only have $991,713 in cap space. It’s a stretch for the Vikings to make it happen, but having that insurance policy would be a huge benefit for the Vikings for the rest of the season.
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