The End Could Be Near for 2 Vikings Mainstays

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With free agency officially opening on Wednesday, March 13, there’s the potential that we are in the final days of two veterans remaining on the Minnesota Vikings roster. Both Kirk Cousins and Harrison Smith could be headed to new teams for different reasons, and it would represent a changing of the guard.

Vikings Roster Construction: End Near for 2 Mainstays?

The quarterback has been the focal point of every discussion this offseason and for a good reason. The Minnesota Vikings need a path forward at the most crucial position in sports, and Kirk Cousins’ desire for the most amount of money possible has made that decision difficult. He could choose to play for a new franchise in 2024, and while that would represent a move for his family and acclimation process into a new franchise, it’s something he may explore. Sports are about a change more often than not.

Vikings Roster
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On the flip side, the Vikings could move on from longtime captain Harrison Smith. At 35 years old, he still remains a quality player in the NFL, but he’s simply not going to be back with Minnesota carrying a $19 million cap hit. A restructure makes the most sense if he wants to stay. Otherwise, the franchise must swallow a nearly $8 million dead cap hit.

For Cousins, he should be at a stage in his career where winning is the most important thing. That may be the case, but expecting to go elsewhere and have that transition seamless is a lofty idea. Atlanta isn’t just a quarterback away from competing but could be a bit closer than the Vikings. How the plan works, should he go that route, will be fascinating to see. It only draws more scrutiny if Cousins makes a move over a nominal amount of dollars.

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Smith’s decision is a bit less straightforward. He is under contract, and it is every bit his right if restructuring isn’t something he is interested in. However, he understands how team-building works, and playing at the current number isn’t going to happen. Given his advanced age in the league, Smith may also be interested in joining a franchise a bit closer to a likely Super Bowl appearance, and his former head coach is now a defensive coordinator once again.

Ultimately, free agency and offseason roster shuffles see players constantly shift teams. For these two, though, it would indicate a change of guard. Cousins has been with Minnesota for the same duration he spent in Washington, and Smith has spent all 12 years of his NFL career with the Vikings. Seeing players like that leave always stings, given their impact on the franchise and the community.

Draft Analyst
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We’ll need to wait a few days to see the final decision, but the end could definitely be near.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.