Kirk Cousins Bitten by Mean Twist of Irony

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Above all else, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins enjoys security, which he sought in free agency.

Kirk Cousins Bitten by Mean Twist of Irony

Cousins left the Vikings in March, joining the Atlanta Falcons on a four-year, $180 million deal, a third chapter to his NFL career and one assured to provide the QB1 baton indefinitely.

kirk cousins
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Until the Falcons’ brass selected Michael Penix Jr. of Washington with the eighth overall pick on draft night.

The move stunned onlookers — all of them — because Atlanta had just spent megabucks on Cousins, and the fact that Penix Jr. will turn 24 by the start of the 2024 regular season. If the Falcons wanted a headstart on life after Cousins, which was a weird standalone preference, drafting J.J. McCarthy (age 21), for example, would’ve made more sense. No cigar, though, and the Vikings landed McCarthy.

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And here’s the irony: Cousins reportedly signed in Atlanta for job security. That is — Minnesota told Cousins that it would likely draft a rookie quarterback this year, meaning Cousins would have to look over his shoulder in the Twin Cities. Perhaps less than ideal, he bolted for the Falcons, a team that later effectuated the very plan the Vikings revealed to Cousins.’s Albert Breer explained this week, “A reason he decided to leave Minnesota is because the Vikings were very up front with the 35-year-old about the possibility that, even in the case he stayed, they’d take a quarterback of the future high in the draft. Tying that together with the team’s willingness to guarantee part, but not all, of a second year on another contract, Cousins figured that, if he stayed, there was a good shot that he’d be on the move in 2025.”

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback K. Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

Minnesota’s up-front attitude and revelation to Cousins about the plan check out, as the current front office is frequently championed for communication.

Breer continued, “I know Cousins appreciated how open the Vikings were about their draft strategy, even if it meant him leaving. So if you were him, how would you feel when that call came, as his new team was on the clock, to explain how the Falcons were taking his heir apparent, Michael Penix Jr., with the eighth pick? Now, I do understand why Atlanta felt the need to keep it quiet, and why GM Terry Fontenot’s experience in New Orleans in 2017, when the Chiefs knew the Saints coveted Patrick Mahomes and jumped ahead of them to get him, marked the decision not to tell Cousins of their plans.”

Cousins and his agent were just as shocked by the Penix Jr. pick as draft watchers.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

“Still, it had to be a crappy call to take if you were Cousins, considering the basis of the decision you’d made six weeks earlier. It remains to be seen, of course, if that’ll lead to any sort of early fissure in the player-team relationship there. I think they’ll be able to get past it, because head coach Raheem Morris is a phenomenal relationship guy, and Cousins is an adult. But if there are early bumps in the season, this one will be interesting to watch,” Breer concluded.

Cousins will still start out of the gate in 2024 and perhaps even thrive in Atlanta’s explosive offense. It’s just strange that he’ll have to keep tabs on Penix Jr. when he joined that team hoping to avoid a successor on the roster. It’s NFL irony.

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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