Vikings QB Situation Seems to Cement Cousins Back in 2024

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings lost Kirk Cousins a couple of weeks ago against the Green Bay Packers. With his season ended after a torn Achilles tendon, Kevin O’Connell has been forced to figure out the quarterback situation. With how that has been handled, the tea leaves continue to point towards Cousins returning in 2024.

Vikings QB Situation Seems to Cement Cousins Back in 2024

Coming into the season, the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was in the final year of his contract. Having been extended for an additional year, there was plenty of uncertainty about how Kevin O’Connell’s team would operate in the year ahead. Maybe the Vikings would be bad enough to use a high first-round pick on a very deep quarterback class. Regardless, it seemed like a year for transition.

Vikings QB Situation
Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) talk after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Then, they started to engage Justin Jefferson in extension conversations. While the Vikings star wideout certainly is looking for a payday, he wants to know who will throw him the ball. Yes, Jefferson will get paid, but that will happen no matter who he plays for. Behind Cousins, there is complete uncertainty, and Jefferson speaking into the quarterback situation is likely part of the talking points for a new deal.

Beyond that, Minnesota breaking in a new signal caller without a veteran’s benefit would put them in a difficult spot. The defense has improved substantially under coordinator Brian Flores, but the offensive weapons would likely go underutilized with a green new rookie stepping in. That process could have started a week ago, but clarity is being provided.

After Jaren Hall started in place of Cousins, he lasted just a few plays before suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons. As a fifth-round pick, he should have never been expected to play in 2023. Being thrust into action early wasn’t ideal for him, but it would have provided Minnesota with additional evaluation.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) on the sideline against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell is sticking with the veteran after acquiring Josh Dobbs at the trade deadline and then watching him lead an improbable victory over the Falcons. That’s beyond an understandable decision, and while he hasn’t had a career of sustained success, it’s too hard to turn away at this point.

Minnesota isn’t seeing what Hall has to offer in going with the veteran. That moment may come if Dobbs struggles, but it will be in less-than-ideal circumstances where he is ultimately elevated. Dobbs isn’t on some long-term deal, and while he could be retained for 2024, that would be based on a bridge or backup situation. No matter what happens, playing out the string with a middling veteran means that Hall’s evaluation period isn’t going to take place.

Will NFL Pundits Admit
Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to pass in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Ultimately, the Vikings could still opt for a first-round quarterback. This class is deep and has plenty of options to evaluate. None of them should start for a team with this much talent, though, and Minnesota should again be in position to compete in 2024. Asking Cousins to come back on a one-year or longer deal makes so much sense. His cap hit isn’t what it was when the contract was inked, and he shouldn’t be expecting to break the bank coming off of an injury at 36 years old. O’Connell has seen what his team looks like with Cousins under center, and as everyone evolves around him, the water level only goes up.

Going into the season, predicting a return for Cousins in a year may have been improbable. Now, it seems like that possibility is probable and beyond necessary.

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.