This Was the Day the Vikings Made a QB Decision “Last Time”

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The Minnesota Vikings haven’t faced a major quarterback decision in six years. No matter how one dices it, Kirk Cousins has provided stability at the league’s most important position since 2018.

This Was the Day the Vikings Made a QB Decision “Last Time”

And the last time Minnesota faced a ginormous choice at quarterback — like this time — February 26, or today on the calendar, was when the news broke. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on February 26th, 2018, or six years ago today, “The Vikings are not expected to franchise tag QB Case Keenum and he’s slated to hit free agency, per sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking. Barring a change of heart, Minnesota joins the fray for a starting QB… and will make these next few weeks fascinating.”

ESPN Name Drops 3
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Of course, this doesn’t mean the Vikings are guaranteed to render a Cousins verdict on Monday or anything of the sort, but it should add context that the time is now, and his fate could be learned at any minute. He’ll hit free agency in two weeks if the Vikings don’t extend him.

Cousins ranks second all-time in Vikings history per touchdown passes and third in passing yards, a wildly productive six years for the 35-year-old. But Cousins tore his Achilles tendon last October, and the franchise enters its final stages of a “competitive rebuild,” meaning the passer’s usual expensive asking price may not be in the budget.

Day the Vikings Made
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If the Vikings don’t re-sign Cousins, they’ll be forced to trade for a different quarterback, find a free agent on the open market, or utilize the most likely option — choosing a new signal-caller in April’s draft. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to fly off the board in Rounds 1 and 2.

The last Cousins-themed update arrived last week from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He mentioned the Cousins sweepstakes on the Unsportsmanlike podcast, “Let’s just say, hypothetically. I’m making this up. Minnesota is willing to pay Kirk Cousins $45 million a year. And the Atlanta Falcons are willing to pay Kirk Cousins $50 million a year. And you’re Kirk Cousins — how do you want to handle that?”

Builds for Kirk Cousins
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The Falcons (mentioned by Schefter) are one of the probable next destinations for Cousins if he doesn’t re-up with the Vikings. The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots make sense, too.

Schefter added, “That’s the job of his agent, to report back to him and say, ‘Ok. Kirk. Here’s the landscape that you can’t be tagged. It looks as high as Minnesota is willing to go as high as this. There might be a team or two that can get to this. What do you want to do?’ And there’s your decision, wherever he wants to go.”

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When the offseason began, several Vikings fans speculated Cousins could accept a “hometown discount,” but that big hope has dissipated in recent weeks.

The Vikings haven’t experienced a quarterback start eight games or more in seven consecutive seasons since Fran Tarkenton — about 50 years ago.

Interestingly, Keenum, 36, remains in the NFL as a backup quarterback for the Houston Texans. Teams led by Keenum have a 10-18 (.357) record since he left the Vikings after the 2017 season.

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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