Imagine if Kirk Cousins Ohtani’d for the Vikings

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The National Football League and Major League Baseball are entirely different beasts. One has a salary cap, and the other has a soft cap in the form of the competitive balance tax. However, after what Shohei Ohtani did to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s worth wondering if star players in other leagues shouldn’t follow suit. Enter the Minnesota Vikings Kirk Cousins.

Imagine if Kirk Cousins Ohtani’d for the Vikings

There has never been a point where Kirk Cousins hasn’t been the best quarterback employed by the Minnesota Vikings since Brett Favre. His talent has never been the argument. The problem is that the National Football League is a sport tied to a salary cap, and his earnings have directly coincided with an inability to bring talent in around him.

Imagine if Kirk
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While other quarterbacks have been paid throughout the league, Cousins has seen his status among the top earners dramatically decrease. In the final year of his deal with the Vikings, he is now up against a stretch in which he has played no games and accrued zero production. Coming back from an Achilles injury at age 35 is hardly a death sentence, but it should change how he is perceived in free agency.

Cousins has said everything right regarding his desire to remain in Minnesota. That is all fine and well when writing stories, but it only matters when the rubber meets the road. Playing 12 seasons in the National Football League, Cousins has brought home more than $231 million. That’s a substantial chunk of change, and while he has been hit plenty in a brutal league, he has yet to achieve the ultimate goal.

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When looking at a future with Minnesota or elsewhere in 2024 and beyond, Cousins should at least consider the understanding that Shohei Ohtani came to with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The baseball superstar wants to win, and while he has other revenue streams to make up for the current economic hit on his pocketbook, that reality is at the forefront each time he shows up to work.

Certainly, Cousins isn’t making $50 million from endorsements off the field. No amount of Kohl’s Cash could supplement that. However, he has already earned generational wealth, and he has nothing to show for it when it comes to the ultimate goal on a football field. Knowing that teammates like Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw have to get paid, this may be a time for Cousins to show that the end result matters more than the extra zeros on his paycheck.

The National Football League employs a hard salary cap that defines how much a team can spend on its overall roster. It shouldn’t be on Cousins to eat the entirety of a hit in that regard, but for a player at the end of a career spanning over a decade, bringing in talent around him would seem of the utmost importance.

The former Michigan State quarterback could look to stick with Minnesota as he’s said he desires to, and Cousins could do it at an amount that allows younger talent to be paid. He’d benefit from the water level of his teammates rising, and finally winning something of consequence would be a more realistic goal.

Offense Must Show Ou
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Unlike baseball, the National Football League presents a much more brutal predicament game-by-game. To what level that is compensated after reaching a certain threshold of millions is up for debate, but showing up to work should get infinitely easier with an enhanced opportunity to come out on top.

There aren’t many athletes across sports who can afford to sacrifice their present earnings. Those who have achieved wealth while winning little should be in the greatest category of expected beneficiaries; however, it took a baseball star willing to show the way that gave them an avenue to do so.

Kirk Cousins should be back for Minnesota in 2024, but he can aid that process by handling some of the heavy lifting on his own.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.