Another Team to Watch in Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes Next March

10 Looming Predictions
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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins will turn 35 in August, and according to his existing contract, 2023 is his final year in Minnesota.

Cousins could, of course, be extended into 2024 and beyond, but the Vikings front office has not pulled the trigger on that option this offseason.

Another Team to Watch in Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes Next March

Therefore, much like Derek Carr a few months ago, Cousins is on deck to experience open free agency next March, an oddity for a quarterback of his production level.

Kirk Cousins Sweepstakes
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At Vikings minicamp two weeks ago, reporters asked quarterback Kirk Cousins if contract extension talks were ongoing or afoot. The 34-year-old replied, “I think we’ll probably talk about the contract next March. Until then, [we’ll] just focus on this season and the job to do right now.”

So, there’s the off-ramp for Cousins in Minnesota. If general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah plans to end the Cousins Era — or has planned it this way all along — not extending the signal-caller this offseason would be the way to do it.

Want to Leave
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And if or when Cousins hits the open market, he’ll undoubtedly garner interest from QB-needy teams, much like the aforementioned Carr in March. The San Francisco 49ers are expected to top the list of suitors.

Yet according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Los Angeles Rams shouldn’t be ruled out. Florio joined The Rich Eisen Show last week and explained, “Rich, let’s play it out to March of next year. I think you’re gonna 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 gonna see a potential tug-of-war between Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay for Kirk Cousins next March. Mark that down.”

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Why Shanahan and McVay in the so-called tug of war? Simple — each man offensively coordinated Cousins early in his career. Shanahan was the Washington Commanders offensive coordinator during Cousins’ first two seasons, 2012 and 2013. He then left for the Cleveland Browns, and McVay took over the post from 2014 to 2016, otherwise known as Cousins’ formative QB1 years in Washington.

Depending on the outcome of the 2023 season, the 49ers may be unable to resist Cousins’ free agency. The club will utilize some combination of Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, and Sam Darnold at QB1 this season, and if none of those men take the 49ers to the Promised Land, San Francisco could come knocking on the door of Cousins’ free agency.

Vikings 1st Offseason
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Meanwhile, McVay’s Rams employ Matthew Stafford at quarterback, and he’s about six months older than Cousins. In theory, 2023 could be Stafford’s last campaign in Los Angeles, and then according to Florio, McVay would evidently eye Cousins for 2024, a player he knows intimately.

The Vikings still have a full regular season to go — and hopefully postseason — before deciding on Cousins’ fate in 2024 and beyond. However, if they choose to wrap up his tenure in purple, a bidding war involving Cousins’ old offensive coordinators could surface next March.

Cousins is the only player in the NFL to throw 25+ touchdown passes in every season since the start of 2015.

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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