Does Winning Ultimately Matter to Kirk Cousins?

These Vikings Are Designed
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Kevin O’Connell saw the season take a drastic turn when the Minnesota Vikings lost their veteran signal-caller midway through the 2023 NFL season. Kirk Cousins suffered a serious injury for the first time in his career, and now, rather than capitalize on the opportunity in front of him, it appears to be about the payday once again.

Does Winning Ultimately Matter to Kirk Cousins?

Despite suffering a season-ending injury and staring down his 36th birthday, Kirk Cousins seems intent on maximizing his earnings rather than accomplishments at the highest level. With over $230 million to his credit thus far and having gotten the most out of Minnesota during each contract negotiation, he is again set to crush the bottom line.

Ultimately Matter
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With a reported ask of $90 million over two years, there’s little reason for Minnesota to think that Cousins will be back. He said all the right things about wanting to make the state his home and maintain continuity professionally and personally, but the actions simply don’t match up. Set to head somewhere else in free agency, he must contemplate whether winning matters at all.

Across 150 career games, 145 of which have been starts, Cousins owns a 76-67-2 record. As the record states, he has quarterbacked teams to an average amount of success. In 12 seasons, he has made the playoffs four times and won only a single game. When starting as a favorite in two home games, he was responsible for each loss. Simply put, the legacy does not have much to write about.

General Opinion Has
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, Cousins is not getting any younger, and his opportunities to chase a ring or make a splash in the playoffs are soon ending. It isn’t as though the Vikings represent a juggernaut where he would be guaranteed success, but it’s hard to imagine starting over with another middling franchise moves the needle too far, either.

He could head to the Atlanta Falcons and match up with Kyle Pitts and Drake London. He could hope that George Pickens is the real deal for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe he wants to move to Las Vegas and try his hand with Davante Adams. He won’t have Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, regardless of where he goes.

Is a Better Kirk Coming for Vikings?
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

You can never fault an individual for wanting to make money while they can. Still, Cousins may look back on his career and wonder if the additional zeroes in a bank account are enough to overcome a couple of years twisting in the wind as he rides off into the sunset. Maybe Cousins finds a way to turn another team into a Super Bowl contender while getting paid, but he was never able to elevate Minnesota to the status, and he had an elite set of weapons around him. The betting odds would be against it, but he appears determined to test that fate anyway.

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.