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Q: What do you know about Cam Akers' situation in L.A. that led him to being traded to Minnesota? — @EzraGonzales6
BG: Akers had fallen behind Kyren Williams on the Rams' depth chart, and he's in the final year of his contract for a team that seems to be looking toward the future. There were reports of a rift with the coaching staff last season, when Akers stayed away from the team while the Rams trying to trade him before the deadline, and it seemed unlikely he would be back in LA after this season. He'd worked with Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips with the Rams, though, and became a low-cost option for a team trying to improve its running game. We'll see if Akers fits better with the Vikings than he had seemed to do with the Rams toward the end of his time there; if not, the Vikings are only out on some cash and perhaps a Day 3 pick in 2026.
Q: What's going right on defense? — @Pistol_Peter_D
BG: I'd say the biggest thing through two games would be the pass defense. The Vikings have only allowed three passes of 20 yards or more though the first two game of the season, after allowing 61 — the second-most in the league — last year. It's interesting because last year's scheme was built on the concept of keeping safeties deep to minimize big plays, while Brian Flores' approach uses more man coverages and keeps fewer safeties in the middle of the field. Flores' emphasis on pressure, though, might be forcing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball sooner, and as safety Camryn Bynum said this week, when the Vikings are in zones, they're dropping to landmarks on the field, rather than playing as many match coverages as they used to use (where assignments can change based on how a receiver released at the line or how he ran his route). Those systems might create more opportunities for busted coverages, especially with young players who might get confused while reading things on the fly.
Danielle Hunter has four sacks this season, while returning to a role where he's almost exclusively a pass rusher. The Vikings have allowed the eighth-fewest passing yards in the league while fielding a secondary with two inexperienced corners. If you're looking for a silver lining through an 0-2 start, that'd be where I'd look.
Q: Why would JJ sign big extension with Vikings if Kirk not coming back? Is it not logical that he wouldn't roll the dice with some rookie? —@BobbyLaser
BG: I have wondered about this a bit, and I know some of the people watching the Justin Jefferson extension talks closely have wondered whether it makes sense for the team to pay Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson before its quarterback situation is settled. To me, though, that's a different question than whether Jefferson would sign.
My educated guess here is, if the Vikings offer Jefferson the exact deal he wants, uncertainty about the future QB isn't going to stop it from happening. It might be more of a question for the Vikings, in terms of how they'll pay their QB after paying Jefferson and Hockenson, but I don't think the receiver would turn down a deal on principle because the quarterback isn't signed. General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah talked this spring about keeping Jefferson in the loop on personnel matters, and I'd expect Jefferson would have some communication with the team about the looming QB decision, but that's different from saying no to a deal he would otherwise want to sign. Yes, there's a risk to it for him, but I don't think that would be enough to stop things. Now, speaking of Cousins …
Q: Spielman always liked many darts at low-end talent. Kwesi seems to like maximum darts at high-end talent. Do you think that leads to both a rookie QB and Kirk next year? —@donraul007
BG: This one comes from our buddy Neil, a longtime Access Vikings listener and fan of the team from London, and he brings up an interesting scenario: Would the Vikings sign Cousins to a new deal while drafting a quarterback (ostensibly in the first round) next year?
I wouldn't necessarily dismiss this scenario out of hand, especially if the Vikings took a quarterback later in the first round that they'd want to develop behind Cousins. They could work out a deal with Cousins that spreads out the effects of his void money and still fit in a rookie QB deal next year while giving that player time to learn behind Cousins. We've seen the Packers use that approach with both Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, and it's great for the team, if it works.
That said, I'd have some significant questions with this scenario. The Green Bay example shows us these transitions, even if they're well-planned, are rarely clean; how would the Vikings manage the emotions and expectations of all involved, especially if Cousins has a bad game and fans are calling for the rookie QB? The Vikings explored a move toward the top of the draft this year and viewed three QBs (Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson) of being worth their consideration in the first round. If they were to pursue a QB in the first round of the draft next year, I'd expect it to be someone on the order of USC's Caleb Williams or North Carolina's Drake Maye, rather than just drafting one they're unsure can be a franchise player. In the event they landed a QB of that caliber, would they want him to sit, or would they want to maximize the surplus value that comes from a high-performing QB on a rookie deal? How would ownership feel about taking a QB near the top of the draft and sitting him behind Cousins? There are enough complications with the scenario that even if it's interesting (and perhaps wise) in theory, it's hard for me to see it happening in practice. Definitely a good thought exercise, though.