According to a report by Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson, the Minnesota Vikings are showing interest in acquiring Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson sat out the entire 2021 season after being accused of sexual assault by 22 different women. After a grand jury declined to indict Watson on any criminal charges on Friday, a source told Wilson the ruling was "a total game-changer" and that Watson's market has picked up.
Wilson went on to list several teams that have made recent inquires for Watson which included the Vikings, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.
For the Vikings to acquire Watson, they would need to trade Kirk Cousins. Cousins has thrown for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in three of his four seasons in Minnesota. But his $45 million cap hit serves as a turning point to either work out a long-term deal or move on.
Earlier this week, a report by CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said the Vikings are "very open" to moving Cousins and listed the Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts as potential destinations. Wilson echoed these sentiments saying Cousins is available "for the right price."
That would pave the way for Watson, who is reportedly interested in Minnesota thanks to the presence of Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook.
Prior to sitting out last season, Watson was one of the brightest stars in the NFL. From 2017-20, only Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Tannehill had a higher passer rating than Watson's 104.5. He also had the best season of his career in 2020, throwing for 4,823 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
From a pure football standpoint, acquiring Watson would be an upgrade over Cousins. But with a potential public relations nightmare looming, it will be interesting to see which direction the Vikings could go.