The 2 Hot Landing Spots for Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter

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NFL free agency will get hot and heavy in less than 48 hours, with players able to chat with teams about new contracts in a period the league calls “legal tampering.” For two months, the free agencies of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter have dominated all Minnesota Vikings-themed discussions, and clarity is on the way, alas.

The 2 Hot Landing Spots for Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter

One or both men could still return to the Vikings for 2024 and beyond, but if either skedaddles, the NFL’s rumor mill has already labeled front-running landing spots for their next employers.

Danielle Hunter
Los Angeles Rams

The Rams ranked 14th in 2023 per ESPN’s pass-rush win rate metric, a respectable finish for a club that wasn’t supposed to reach the postseason but did anyway. Now, they’ll hope to improve and build on last year’s unforeseen Wildcard appearance.

Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter
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Los Angeles has just one starting EDGE defender under contract for next year, Byron Young, and even if he wasn’t spectacular in 2023, tabulating a 63.5 Pro Football Focus grade. Theoretically, the Rams could sign Hunter for $20-$25 million and solidify one side of the defensive line.

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin wrote about a Hunter-Rams connection in free agency this week, “The onus is on the front office to replenish the pass-rushing cupboard, and Hunter fits the bill as a tried-and-true veteran. New defensive coordinator Chris Shula has a background in coaching outside linebackers, and it’s hard to think Hunter wouldn’t be intrigued at the possibility of lining up alongside future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald on the West Coast.”

for the Vikings OLB
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And last month, ESPN revealed the Rams as a top destination for Hunter. “The Rams have money to spend in free agency, and filling the edge rushing need should be a priority. Hunter’s 16.5 sacks with the Vikings in 2023 were the fifth most in the league, and he also forced four fumbles,” Matt Bowen wrote.

He added, “Adding Hunter would give the Rams a productive veteran force opposite Byron Young — who had eight sacks as a rookie — with Aaron Donald on the interior. That’s how you upgrade a pass rush.”

These are the other teams to monitor amid the Hunter Sweepstakes if Minnesota allows him to depart for good:

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Chicago Bears
  • Denver Broncos
  • Detroit Lions
  • Houston Texans
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kirk Cousins
Atlanta Falcons

Cousins to Atlanta has been all the media rage for about a week. Well, the theory has been whispered for about a month, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio upped the ante last Monday night.

Buzz Takes Stab
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Mike Florio opined, “We can’t get into the specifics, for now. But we’re getting very credible indications that Cousins is seriously considering moving his family to Atlanta. Which would mean, obviously, that he’d’ be signing with the Falcons. The Falcons have always been the top alternative to the Vikings for Cousins, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next Wednesday.”

That was the ignition to convince many Vikings fans that Cousins’ exodus was truly on the way.

The Vikings 4 Realistic
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Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini said this week about Cousins-to-Atlanta, “Is this real? Is this a play? And I can tell you that the Atlanta Falcons’ interest in Kirk Cousins is very, very real.”

The Falcons are also the current Vegas favorite to fetch Cousins’ services in 2024, and sportsbooks don’t usually set outwardly false or whimsical odds.

Like Hunter above, if Cousins does not sign in Atlanta but departs the Vikings, these are other potential landing spots:

  • Denver Broncos
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • New England Patriots
  • Pittsburgh Steelers

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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