Former Pro Bowler Claims Vikings Are Ready to Be Done with Kirk Cousins

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins has manned QB1 duties for the Minnesota Vikings since 2018 but is not under contract beyond 2023.

If nothing changes contractually, Cousins will hit free agency next March for the first time in six years.

Former Pro Bowler Claims Vikings Are Ready to Be Done with Kirk Cousins

And while Cousins could be extended at any minute — or not at all — one former NFLer and Pro Bowler believes Minnesota is chomping at the bit to end the Cousins era.

Bowler Claims Vikings
Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark laughs during a live taping of ESPN’s “First Take” at Florida A&M University’s new Will Packer Performing Arts Amphitheater as part of the school’s homecoming festivities Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. © Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK.

He’s Ryan Clark, formerly of Pittsburgh Steelers fame, among a couple of other teams, and he currently works for ESPN. Clark discussed the Vikings, the team’s future, and Cousins this week, detailing his theory that 2023 is probably Cousins’ last hurrah in Minnesota.

“I just don’t believe that Kirk Cousins is that quarterback, and I think that the Minnesota Vikings feel the same way,” he claimed about the Vikings front office’s intentions.

Clark has no affiliation with the Vikings or the team’s management.

QB Is Now the Vikings
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares for the snap from center Garrett Bradbury (56) against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

He added, “When is it that your franchise guy, the guy just led you to a division title, a guy that just put you in the playoffs, gets to play in the last year of his contract? That happens when you’re unsure of his future. That happens when you’re unsure if you want him to be your franchise quarterback going forward.”

The comments by Clark arrive a few days after Minnesota released Dalvin Cook, sparking a frenzied debate on whether the Vikings are contending or rebuilding in 2023. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio emphatically endorsed the latter, opining last weekend, “The Vikings aren’t prioritizing winning as many games as possible in 2023, just like the Cardinals.”

roadmap from
Sep 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs onto the field during team introductions before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Vikings kicked off mandatory minicamp with Justin Jefferson in attendance. The NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year told reporters, “We want to win the Super Bowl this year.”

On Clark, it is indeed uncommon for a quarterback of Cousins’ caliber to enter a contract year with no guarantees for the future. But the signal-caller turns 35 in August, and perhaps the Vikings want to see if Cousins shows any hints of age-related decline. For the first time ever, age is a fundamental factor in any decision regarding Cousins’ prognosis with the franchise. Folks didn’t have to debate Cousins’ age or any theoretical decline until now.

It is unclear, though, if Minnesota is eager — or excited — to shed Cousins’ contract after this year. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could’ve traded the man this offseason if they wanted to start over so badly.

Adofo-Mensah told reporters in April, “Kirk doesn’t need to do show anything to me. Kirk has played football at a high level before I got to the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, we won 13 games. I don’t know what he would need to prove to me or anybody else.”

“Sometimes you come to a place [in contract talks] where you decide, ‘Hey, let’s talk later. This is a solution for now.’ That’s all that’s happened,” the young executive added.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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