The Worst-Case Scenario for Kirk Cousins 

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) celebrate after the touchdown in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

As a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, my only interest is what’s best for the team. I assume that’s the same for the rest of you?

So, no matter what side of the Kirk Cousins argument you are on, we all approach it with what we think is best for this football team. While doing my rounds of the football websites, I came across an interesting piece by Dan Hanzus of Around the NFL, titled 2022 NFL offseason: best-case, worst-case scenarios for quarterbacks in limbo. Kirk Cousins is the poster boy for this article, and it posed a question I hadn’t really thought about — the worst-case scenario for Kirk Cousins.

Hanzus opined his best-case, worse-case, and most likely scenarios for several quarterbacks, starting with the Minnesota Vikings signal-caller. Hanzus see the best outcome for Cousins being an extension that makes him one of the most highly paid players in the league while lowering this year’s cap hit for the Vikings.

He also sees this as the most likely scenario because Kirk Cousins proves himself masterfully at getting the maximum value for himself. The fully-guaranteed contract and fully-guaranteed extension he signed give Cousins nearly all the leverage.

In contrast, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are left cursing Rick Spielman for the lack of options left for them. However, there is one option left open for the Vikings, helped by one of the few positives Rick Spielman left behind.

ESPN's Bold Kirk Cousins Idea to Fix Vikings
Kirk Cousins

As part of the extension, the no-trade clause was taken out of Cousins’ contract, leaving the Vikings free to trade him to any willing trade partner, if they can find one. This is where the worst-case scenario for Kirk Cousins, explained by Dan Hanzus comes in. On NFL.com, he wrote:

Worst-case scenario: New general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have been playing poker this entire time. The tandem decides to flip Cousins to a team in QB purgatory (Carolina? Indianapolis? Seattle?) and start anew at the game’s most important position. Cousins, absent a no-trade clause in his contract, ends up in a place he does not want to be.

Dan Hanzus | NFL.com

This is all the Vikings have as leverage if they wish to convince Cousins to stick around on a more team-friendly deal. He will be 34 years old when the 2022 season kicks off, and who knows how many more years he has left in him playing at his prime.

If Cousins’ ambition is to win a Super Bowl and Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell make him believe he can do that in Minnesota, they’d have to make a more team-friendly deal seem more appealing than being sent to a struggling team. Even in that scenario, Cousins only has to wait out a year until hitting free agency, where he will still be young enough for another big contract.

The Kirk Cousins offseason saga continues to rumble on in what seems like an eternity. There are plenty of rumors about imminent moves, but so far, everything remains quiet.

Your guess is as good as mine regarding what will happen over the next few weeks. I still think that the front office and Kirk Cousins will come to an impasse. Then, with no suitable trade offers on the table, Cousins ends up playing out the season on his current contract. That’s just my feeling on the situation. All three scenarios look to be still on the table.