‘Mark That Down’ — Analyst Predicts Tug of War for Kirk Cousins

Jan 21, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; CBS Sports sideline announcer Mike Florio on field prior to an AFC divisional round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Kirk Cousins is famously in the final year of his contract. It will be his sixth season as the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

‘Mark That Down’ — Analyst Predicts Tug of War for Kirk Cousins

Minnesota could be looking to move on from him. The latest evidence was the decision not to extend his contract for another year in the offseason. They could still add another year to the contract next offseason, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is not bound to Cousins, and new regimes tend to want to find their own quarterbacks.

Mike Florio Predicts Tug of War For Kirk Cousins
Sep 9, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) following the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

If Cousins departs from the organization next year, there will certainly be suitors for the four-time Pro Bowler. The veteran is a decent option for a quarterback-needy team, and his usual 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns will be desired in the free agency period, similar to 2018 when he chose the Vikings over the Jets and signed a huge fully-guaranteed contract worth $84 million for three seasons. Nowadays, that is peanuts for a QB.

Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) envisions two teams from the NFC West entering the Cousins sweepstakes, as he stated on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday:

I think you’re going to see — unless the Vikings re-sign him by then, and they can’t use the franchise tag on him, the way his contract is structured — you’re going to see a potential tug of war between Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay for Kirk Cousins next March. Mark that down.

Mike Florio

Florio, a know Vikings fan, is also a known opponent of Cousins. He doesn’t like the quarterback – someone who is good but not great. Florio often stated that he wanted the team to move on sooner rather than later.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins is familiar with both coaches – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay – from his time in Washington. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013, the first two seasons of Cousins’ professional career. He was also the driving force to draft him in the fourth round despite having already invested a lot of draft capital into RG3.

In those two seasons, McVay was the tight ends coach. He was then promoted to succeed Shanahan as OC in 2014 and held that job for three seasons, including 2015 and 2016, when Cousins was the full-time starter. That job, Cousins playing well certainly helped, landed him the head coaching job in Los Angeles.

Both of those guys know what Cousins brings to the table. He is a solid quarterback, someone who can execute players better than most. On the flip side, he doesn’t create much on his own because of limited mobility. However, someone like Cousins is exactly what those two offensive masterminds are looking for. They can draw up plays better than most and need someone to execute it. They had success with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff. Cousins is the souped-up version of the two.

Oct 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay meets with San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan following the game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams moved on from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford and immediately won the Super Bowl. Cousins is statistically even a better passer than Stafford, who could be coming close to his retirement. He has been hurt more often than not in recent years, even though he still played a lot of football despite it. It is safe to say that the Rams are only going after Cousins if Stafford indeed retires.

San Francisco employs three quarterbacks. They moved heaven and earth to get Trey Lance in the 2021 draft, but he has been a disaster The Vikings have been rumored to be a potential trade partner for him.

Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft, played exceptionally well as a rookie, taking the team to the NFC Championship Game – granted, that team was loaded, and others could have done the same. He is recovering from a severe elbow injury. The 49ers signed Sam Darnold, a reclamation project, who reportedly looks good. An emergence of one of the trio would remove the 49ers from the Cousins sweepstakes.

Cousins has connections to both head coaches, and it is not hard to imagine him reuniting with one of them. If they were interested, it would become harder for the Vikings to retain him if they wanted to go that route.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt