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Friday open thread: Which player on the Vikings would you NOT want on the Lions roster?

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By: Erik Schlitt

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Taking a look at which Vikings players Lions fans should want to remain in Minnesota.


Each week, as part of game preview articles, I’ll be using the Question of the Day post to examine the roster of the Detroit Lions’ upcoming opponent. I’ll sort through their players, narrowing the list based on a few key aspects (like being currently active), then present a question to the fan base.

Back in Week 5, I asked which Minnesota Vikings player Detroit would love to have on their roster. I picked stud wide receiver Justin Jefferson who is a phenomenal combination of talent, upside, age, and contract.

While identifying what the Lions need on the roster is important, the inverse of that question also has value. Knowing what to avoid, will also help the Lions navigate through their rebuild. So that brings us to the question of the day:

Which player on the Vikings would you NOT want on the Lions roster?

In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t a lot of players to dislike on the Vikings roster despite them being a division rival. You may not care for wide receiver Adam Thielen or EDGE Danielle Hunter because they have consistently played well against the Lions, but you can respect their game.


For the list of players I’ve chosen for this exercise, they each have two factors that I believe aren’t conducive for a rebuild: Age and expensive contract.

Kirk Cousins, QB
Age: 33
2021: $31 million (fully guaranteed)
2022: $45 million (fully guaranteed)

Cousins is an established quarterback who is in the middle of another solid season, but next year he will be 34 years old and will hold a fully guaranteed (!) contract that has the third highest cap hit in the NFL. His $45 million cap hit accounts for roughly 25 percent of the Vikings total salary cap allotted for the 53 players, a 16-man practice squad, and injured reserve.

Cousins has Minnesota over a barrel. How much over a barrel? For reference, Aaron Rodgers’ cap hit in 2022 is $1 million more than Cousins, but his guaranteed money is half that.

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Patrick Peterson, CB
Age: 31
Contract 2021: $8 million (fully guaranteed)

This version of Patrick Peterson is not the Pro Bowler we used to see in Arizona. In fact, he hasn’t been a shutdown corner for some time now, and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2018.

Among corners, Peterson’s contract is the 14th highest in the NFL, but his PFF grade (63.1) is 88th, and his coverage grade (59.6) checks in at 114th. Peterson is still a competant starting corner, but the price tag doesn’t match the production.

Harrison Smith, S
Age: 32
2021: $6.9 million
2022: $13.5 M
2023: $17.2 M
2024: $17.2 M
2025: $20 M

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Smith’s four year contract extension made him the second-highest-paid safety in the league on average, but it can be a bit misleading as most of his guaranteed money comes due over the next two years. In fact, there are only roughly $6 million in guarantees remaining from 2023 on, which does give the Vikings an out if they want to move on from their captain once he turns 35 years old.

On the field he is still playing well, but he hasn’t seen an overall PFF grade over 75.0 in either of the last two seasons, suggesting his previously elite play is beginning to decline. If the Vikings play it right, they will likely get two more solid years out of him before they need to part ways.

My choice: Kirk Cousins

That contract is an albatross and the Vikings are stuck with it. Cousins is an acceptable quarterback and he would definitely be an upgrade to the Lions roster. But his cost is too detrimental to overall roster construction, which is why you see the Vikings having to jump through hoops each offseason.

Am I right? Wrong? Which Vikings player would you avoid?

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Vote and sound off in the comment section below:

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Originally posted on Pride Of Detroit