9 Bold Predictions for the Vikings QB1 after Kirk Cousins

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

VikingsTerritory writers were asked to provide one bold prediction about the identity of the man who eventually takes over as Kirk Cousins’ heir apparent.

The franchise lost to the New York Giants in Round 1 of playoffs, exiting the postseason tournament after winning the NFC North by a fancy margin. Accordingly, a change-filled offseason is afoot, and VikingsTerritory’s writers are analyzing the long-term future.

9 Bold Predictions for the Vikings QB1 after Kirk Cousins

The Vikings probably won’t move on from Cousins this offseason, so let this prediction piece serve as an appetizer for now and later.

1. Tanner McKee (Stanford)

Vikings QB1 after Kirk Cousins
Oct 2, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Tanner McKee (18) calls out plays to his teammates during the second quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction Maker = Adam New
When? = 2025

Just to drive the part of the Vikings fanbase desperate for the “new-fangled” athletic quarterback, Minnesota adds a year to Kirk Cousins’ contract — and then drafts Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

McKee has the size and arm to be a very good pocket passer. Having spent two years in Brazil on a Latter Day Saints mission, his college career was delayed. He will have two years behind Cousins to prepare before the Vikings roll the dice in 2025.

2. Spencer Rattler (South Carolina)

Dec 30, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) celebrates a touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the third quarter in the 2022 Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Ali Siddiqui
When? = 2025

The Vikings will draft Spencer Rattler in the 3rd Round this year, and he will start in 2025.

Cousins will be kept as the starter until the end of 2024. He will be 37 in 2025. There’s a very good chance he’s no longer on the roster by then, as he will be a free agent in 2024. Maybe they’ll re-sign him, but my guess is they’ll move on and give Rattler the keys — and see what he can do.

3. Anthony Richardson (Florida)

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) warms up before the game against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sunday, October 2, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun. USA TODAY NETWORK.

Prediction Maker = Cole Smith
When? = 2024

The next Vikings QB1 after Kirk Cousins will be Anthony Richardson. The Vikings will let Cousins ride out his deal while allowing Richardson to sit on the bench and learn for a season.

They will be tempted to go after Aaron Rodgers, who will be coming off a mediocre season with the New York Jets. But, for once, the Vikings invest in the future.

4. Shedeur Sanders (Jackson State)

Jackson State Tigers quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) throws the ball as Alabama State Hornets takes on Jackson State Tigers at ASU Stadium in Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Jackson State Tigers defeated Alabama State Hornets. © Jake Crandall/ Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Prediction Maker = Dustin Baker
When? = 2024 into 2025

When the Kirk Cousins era ends, the Vikings will swing the pendulum from a steady, dropback passer to a swift mobile quarterback more in tune with the modern NFL. And forecasting the 2024 NFL Draft, that could be Shedeur Sanders. Yes, Deion’s kid.

It is unclear where Sanders will fall in the 2024 draft class, but that makes it easier for this exercise. Let’s hope Minnesota has a low-round pick in 2024 and can plan for the future accordingly with Deion’s boy.

Cousins is 35. Now is the time to at least begin contemplating life after Cousins because it would not be strange at all for the man to hit a wall in 2023 or 2024. That’s how it goes.

5. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)

Nov 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Kyle Joudry
When? = 2026

I’m of the opinion that Kirk Cousins’ purple career is closer to middle-aged than to senior status. In other words, my crystal ball tells me that Mr. Cousins will be under center for at least three more seasons, making this question difficult to answer.

Now, let me also say that my knowledge of college prospects is, in a word, nonexistent. I’ll thus be leaning on throwing a blind dart into the air, not at all expecting my infinitesimally-small chance of bullseye accuracy to slow me down.

With all that said, my prediction for the 2026 starting Vikings QB: Jordan Love. This is my wholly unsatisfying, unrealistic prediction that even I don’t believe.

6. Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers)

August 12, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) throws the football before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Janik Eckardt
When? = 2024

The 2021 third-overall pick needs a fresh start. 2022 seventh-rounder Brock Purdy stole his job and won’t give it back. 49ers GM John Lynch needs to get some assets back after spending three first-round picks for Lance. His presence in the building would also cause disturbance as soon as Purdy has a bad game.

Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah worked for the 49ers, and his connections will help facilitate the deal. He will back up Cousins for a season before taking over as the starter.

7. Nick Mullens (Minnesota Vikings)

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) looks to pass during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Josh Frey
When? = At Some Point.

Ultimately, the Vikings are likely to look for their long-term QB in either the 2023 or 2024 drafts, depending on how Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell view prospects in each class.

However, if we’re talking about the immediate aftermath of Cousins, I’m of the mind that Nick Mullens will serve as a bridge QB at some point. There’s a reason that the Vikings went out and got a competent backup to put behind Cousins and learn the offense. Whether it be for four games or an entire season, Mullens would be my bet as Minnesota’s next starter.

8. Will Levis or Caleb Williams

Nov 19, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Mitch Massman
When? = 2023 or 2024

The Kirk Cousins experiment has come to an end. He has played well and put up great numbers over the last five years. However, in that same time, the Vikings have been to the playoffs twice and won one game.

This is not good enough. 

It’s time to plan for the next 5-10 years, and Cousins won’t be here that long. It’s time to ride out his contract, suffer in 2023, and look to the long-term future.

They look to draft Will Levis in 2023 or hold off and bet the farm on Caleb Williams in 2024.

9. A QB Currently in High School

Generic Stock QB Clipart Photo.

Prediction Maker = Will Goodwin
When? = 2027

Captain Kirk will continue to operate the Vikings offense through at least 2025. After a couple of offseasons to fix the defense and fine-tune the offense, Minnesota will make multiple deep playoff runs — gasp — resulting in late-first-round picks for the foreseeable future.

This fate will limit Minnesota’s ability to draft a plug-and-play franchise quarterback, requiring Adofo-Mensah to find a late-round project. That guy is still in high school. He’ll sit behind a 38-year-old Cousins for a year and take the reins in 2027.


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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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