Bleacher Report Offers Surprising Blueprint for Vikings’ Offseason

Free Agency Predictions
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The Minnesota Vikings continue 2024 roster construction in less than two weeks when the NFL’s “legal tampering” phase of free agency kicks off on March 11th.

Bleacher Report Offers Surprising Blueprint for Vikings’ Offseason

Minnesota is expected to sign defensive personnel primarily, hoping to improve a defense that made major strides in 2023 after Brian Flores took over as defensive coordinator.

Offers Surprising Blueprint
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Meanwhile, amply mystery exists at quarterback, though, as incumbent passer Kirk Cousins is tentatively scheduled to hit the open market. If the Vikings cannot reach a meet-in-the-middle agreement with Cousins soon, he’ll hit free agency for the first time in six years.

And according to Bleacher Report, the way the Vikings can morph from a “pretender” into a contender is to re-sign Cousins, an odd twist because NFL media has spent years claiming Cousins doesn’t have the special sauce to lead a team beyond the Divisional Round of the postseason.

Vikings Handed Same
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In addition to enhancing the pass defense, BR’s Gary Davenport explained his recommendation for Minnesota to re-up with Cousins, “After a dozen seasons, we have a pretty good idea who Kirk Cousins is. He’s not Patrick Mahomes. He’s not Joe Burrow. He’s not Lamar Jackson. Cousins isn’t great. But what he is is good. The 35-year-old has started 145 games in Washington and Minnesota. In the latter locale, he’s 13 games over .500 as a starter with 171 touchdowns against just 55 interceptions, a passer rating of 101.2 and three trips to the Pro Bowl.”

This time around, Cousins is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last October at Lambeau Field. Couple that situation with Cousins’ age, 36, and it’s unclear if Minnesota will oblige Cousins’ usually humongous contractual asking price.

“Provided that his rehab from the torn Achilles that ended his 2023 season is progressing well, Cousins is the best option available for the Vikings at quarterback in 2024. The Bears aren’t going to trade Justin Fields inside the NFC North,” Davenport continued.

Is the Competitive
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Cousins was on pace for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 11 picks before the injury in 2023, also known as quasi-MVP numbers in most circles. If he rejoins the Vikings, most hope continuity will reign supreme in Cousins’ third season with Kevin O’Connell.

Davenport concluded that Cousins would make the Vikings an instant contender in 2024: “It’s simple: if the Vikings don’t bring Cousins back, they are waving the white flag on the upcoming season. Stating that the window has closed and it’s time to rebuild. But if they think Cousins could have another 13-win season (ala 2022) up his sleeve, then the ‘win now’ move in to run it back one more time.”

Have the Vikings Paid Kirk
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Davenport’s waving the white flag theory could be debated. Should Minnesota use a 1st-Round draft pick on a quarterback of the future, well, a team has to start somewhere with a rookie signal-caller. One could argue the Houston Texans waved the white flag in 2023 by drafting C.J. Stroud, which, of course, wasn’t true at all.

Cousins will likely command $35-$50 million per season via his next contract, whether from the Vikings or a team like the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, or New England Patriots. He’ll turn 36 in August.

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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