Once the Cardinals traded for Rodney Hudson to play center, there was a question what that meant for the future of 2020 starting center Mason Cole.
What it meant was that Cole was traded Thursday to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth-round draft pick, No. 223 overall. The pick is a compensatory selection the Vikings had received.
The Cards had been without a sixth-round pick after trading it for Markus Golden last season. The trade is pending Cole passing a physical for the Vikings.
The Cardinals now have six total draft picks: Selections in the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds along with two seventh-round picks.
Cole, a 2018 third-round pick, started all 16 games as a rookie when veteran A.Q. Shipley went down in training camp with an ACL tear. He went back to backup status behind Shipley in 2019. Shipley left as a free agent in 2020, clearing the way for Cole, who started all 14 games in which he played.
But he never played at the level the Cards had hoped, and he collected five penalties during the season, including four false starts. Trading him saves the Cardinals a net of about $1.4 million in cap space. Cole's cap number was about $2.3 million.
Last month, offensive line coach Sean Kugler said the Cardinals needed to play better at center, addressing both Cole and backup Lamont Gaillard.
"Both those guys at times played extremely well," Kugler said. "Both those guys at times struggled, both being young players. They're both hard workers, they both like the game of football, and I think they are both going to improve."
The move clears the way for Gaillard to be Hudson's backup, although the Cards still have Max Garcia and even Brian Winters on the roster who could serve in that role.