9 Reasons Why Vikings Should Move On from Kirk Cousins

kirk cousins
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Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon at Lambeau Field on October 29th, a win for the Minnesota Vikings but a loss for the season’s remainder. The man was on pace for a mammoth season, including MVP-like numbers, yet Minnesota finished the season with a 3-6 record sans Cousins.

And because Cousins and the Vikings’ front office couldn’t reach an extension on a contract agreement last summer, the two parties are set to chat again as early as now. As of January 28th, the situation could truly break either way: Cousins could play for the Vikings for a couple more years or bolt for a team like the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, or New England Patriots.

9 Reasons Why Vikings Should Move On from Kirk Cousins

On the whole, if Minnesota decides to move on, about nine reasons would explain the decision. These are those ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = top reason Vikings should cut ties).

9. QBs Rarely Start Winning Super Bowls This Late

9 Reasons Why
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Only one quarterback in NFL history started winning Super Bowls at age 36 or older. So, one must talk herself into believing Cousins lives in an Elway tier of stardom or pursue some version of the next Elway.

Other men have won Super Bowls at 36+ — like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — but Elway is the only one to get off the schneid at such an advanced football age.

8. The Draft Spot

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The Vikings rarely pick “this high.” They have the 11th overall pick, thanks to a 3-6 finish to the season after Cousins was hurt in Week 8. If Cousins returns and stays healthy, it’s unlikely that the club will pick this high again on his watch.

So, Minnesota should seize the moment and use the Top 11 pick on a rookie quarterback or flip the capital to trade up the board.

7. Risk of “Doing the Same Thing Over and Over”

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In six seasons with Cousins, the Vikings have reached the postseason twice. They’ve won one Wildcard playoff matchup. At what point does the team’s ownership ask itself, “Are we just doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?”

Sometimes, in life and sports, one has to change just to change. This is one of those occasions.

6. Injury Concern

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An Achilles injury isn’t just an ankle sprain. Some players — especially in the past — never fully recover from an Achilles tear. Handing Cousins two years and $80 million might be silly with the full knowledge he’s recovering from a very serious injury.

5. Age-Related Decline Afoot

Vikings Fans Have Majority
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Remember Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, and countless others? Quarterbacks tend to diminish around this time; it just doesn’t feel like it for Cousins because he looked great in 2023 before the injury. Plus, onlookers watch Aaron Rodgers and LeBron thrive in their late 30s and just assume this is the new way. Nope — those men are just legendary.

There is significant precedent for quarterbacks slowing down in their mid-to-late 30s, and hopefully, the Vikings recognize it.

4. The Deep QB Draft Class

Board Got Thicker
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Conveniently, Minnesota might need a quarterback at a time that just so happens to feature a deep-deep quarterback class. The 2022 QB draft class, for instance, was terrible, and everybody knew it. Kenny Pickett was the only 1st-Rounder.

Well, the Vikings weren’t required to draft a passer in 2022, and thank God they didn’t. Still, in 2024, they’re nearing crunchtime for drafting a young quarterback, and this class is perfect for the assignment.

3. Adofo-Mensah + O’Connell Job Security

Outcome at QB
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If the Vikings don’t sculpt a plan for life after Cousins this offseason, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are really attaching their job security to Cousins and Cousins only. Doesn’t that seem odd?

2. The Budget

Willing to Make Splashy
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Yes, there are ways to sign Cousins, re-up with Danielle Hunter, and extend Justin Jefferson for the long term (and still add some neat free agents). It can be done. But no matter how one dices it, that money will be paid out sometime. Extending Cousins while slapping a lot of the bill onto 2025, 2026, or 2027 is mere procrastination.

Get the books pretty and tidy for the rookie quarterback so that man is surrounded with gobs of roster talent.

1. The Super Bowl Window

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Depending on the outcome of Jefferson’s upcoming extension, the Vikings will have about four years to pair him, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Christian Darrisaw together with a rookie quarterback. Assuming the unknown young quarterback is any good, he’ll get a fat contract soon after Addison’s expires.

Why not rip off the Band-Aid and let the hypothetical rookie quarterback grow and mature now — instead of two years from now (2026-2027) when Jefferson-Addison-Hockenson-Darrisaw could come to an end?

If the Vikings bring Cousins back, the unnamed rookie quarterback will have less than four years to mature inside the current system with Jefferson, Addison, Hockenson, and Darrisaw. But if that hypothetical rookie starts developing on the field in 2024, well, 2025, 2026, and 2027 can be the golden opportunity years to win the Super Bowl while the quarterback is still cheap.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.