There Should Be a Kirk Cousins Verdict … Tonight

Mattison Crossing
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks before a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Perhaps a “where were you when” moment for Minnesota Vikings fans, a Kirk Cousins verdict — to stay or go — is expected Sunday night.

There Should Be a Kirk Cousins Verdict … Tonight

That’s the word from The Athletic, anyway.

Kirk Cousins Verdict
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Dianna Russini tweeted Sunday, on free agency eve, “The Vikings are expecting to hear from Kirk Cousins tonight on his decision to explore free agency, sources tell me and Alec Lewis. Of note: His contract does not void until Wednesday so the team will have until then to extend him before his dead cap hit officially hits the books for ’24.”

Cousins has absolutely dominated the Vikings’ offseason plans and dominoes, a predictable outcome after the purple team didn’t extend the man last offseason. For weeks, months even, Vikings fans have wondered how Cousins’ future would turn out, and if Russini is correct, a crescendo could arise Sunday night.

Kirk Cousins Out
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The 35-year-old was on pace for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 2023 before an Achilles injury ended his season. Minnesota finished 3-6 without Cousins, a 7-10 record altogether, and missing the postseason in head coach Kevin O’Connell’s second year.

Then, after Week 18, all eyes immediately turned to Cousins. He is the almighty offseason domino. Vikings’ history depends on his decision, the one mentioned by Russini. If the Vikings don’t re-sign Cousins, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is expected to draft a quarterback in April. Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Rounds 1 and 2.

Rumors Hit Boiling
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Sportsbooks claim the Atlanta Falcons are the odds-on favorites to grab Cousins in free agency, and based on the general sentiment among the NFL and Vikings community, his departure feels like it has reached a point of no return. Sunday night may be mere confirmation.

Six days ago, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote, “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.”

Offseason Schedule
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ESPN’s Kevin Seifert echoed the PFT reporting and explained in an article on Tuesday, “If history is a reliable guide, Kirk Cousins is down to his final days as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback. It’s not difficult to connect the dots of conventional wisdom at this point, and the only realistic factor to the contrary is the possibility — however remote it might be — that Cousins will make the type of decision he has never made before.”

Cousins hasn’t sniffed the NFL’s free-agent marketplace since 2018 and is considered the NFL’s top prize in free agency, next to Kansas City Chiefs defender Chris Jones, who signed a jaw-dropping deal with the Chiefs on Saturday night.

So, this could be it. Free agency formally begins Monday, but fans may know Sunday night if Cousins has already said “no thanks” to the team that has employed him for six years.

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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