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2021 NFL Draft: Vikings coveted Bears first-round pick Justin Fields

Had they not traded up, the Bears might have spent the foreseeable future playing against Fields rather than having him.

Kirk Cousins has a 97.9 career passer rating.
Kirk Cousins has a 97.9 career passer rating.
Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

Kirk Cousins is far from an elite quarterback, and the Vikings seemed ready to concede that in the NFL Draft last week. Sitting at No. 14 overall, they were eying his replacement.

The Vikings were eager to pick Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, ESPN reported, but the Bears traded with the Giants to swoop in and take him at No. 11.

“The Vikings were stunned, and this one really stung,” ESPN reported. “They wanted one of the top quarterbacks, but they weren’t desperate enough to give up that kind of draft capital for a player who would be sitting behind Cousins for at least a year.”

Fields dominated college football the last two seasons with 5,373 yards and 63 touchdown passes against nine interceptions. He was the fourth quarterback selected, behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance.

The Bears gave up their 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 fourth-rounder and a 2021 fifth-rounder to move up from No. 20. General manager Ryan Pace said the plan is for Fields to play behind starter Andy Dalton with an eye on taking over the following season.