Few players in the annals of professional football have finessed their way into more millions of dollars than Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. The man and his representative powers that be at the negotiating table have blended art, science and unfathomable influence to help him earn a cool $185 million.
I feel like it’s even more than that. Hmm. Whatever. Not that Captain Kirk doesn’t deserve the dough. It’s just that it feels like his status as a franchise QB is put on trial every single year. That’ll happen when you’ve managed only one playoff victory in eight full seasons as a starter I guess. However, Cousins was playing the best ball of his career before tearing his Achilles midway through the 2023 campaign, which only complicates matters as he braces for free agency.
It’s no secret that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has had a man crush on Cousins forever. Doesn’t seem like he’d move off Brock Purdy after he just guided San Francisco to a Super Bowl LVIII appearance, but crazier things have happened in the NFL.
We’ve already got a rocking QB carousel ahead this offseason. The 2024 draft is loaded with potential studs at the position, headlined by the past two Heisman Trophy winners in USC’s Caleb Williams and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. Since the Chicago Bears own the No. 1 overall pick, they’re expected to draft Williams and trade Justin Fields to…who knows where?
No way the Bears dare to trade Fields in the division to Minnesota. If Kevin O’Connell transformed Fields into a top-10-caliber field general, Chicago fans would never forgive the organization for doing them that dirty if their Fields replacement didn’t live up to the hype.
Other QB-needy teams near the top of the draft order include the Commanders (No. 2), Patriots (No. 3), and Falcons (No. 8). A little further down, you get a run of three more in a row from Nos. 11 through 13 with the Vikings, Broncos and Raiders respectively. You can bet that Denver and Las Vegas will be proactive as hell to upgrade that spot, given that they share a division with such formidable coach-QB combos. They now have Justin Herbert and Jim Harbaugh to navigate in the AFC West in addition to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. An unenviable position, that.
If you throw a released-to-the-wild Kirk Cousins into the mix, too!? Wow. The NFL offseason is always juicy, but this would be a whole other level of citrus. Nay, nitrous. Oxide. I mean that in both the laughing and automotive contexts.
Want some heavy-duty conjecture tossed out by Mr. Walters from his previously-linked piece (behind paywall, here it is again)? You like Kirk Cousins, Minnesota? You like that?
Drum roll please…
How about a little Mr. Unlimited in your lives instead of Captain Kirk for a fraction of the cost!
“It’s not far-fetched that the Vikings would consider, for financial reasons, Russell Wilson as their bridge QB next season if they draft a QB with their No. 11 pick in April. The Broncos are expected to cut Wilson, 35, who if he’s on the roster next March, his 2025 salary of $37 million becomes guaranteed. His $37 million deal for next season already is guaranteed by Denver.
“But if the Vikings are interested in Wilson, his 2024 contract has a salary off-set, meaning he would cost only the NFL veteran minimum of $1.2 million with incentives. The Broncos would owe the rest. Bottom line: The Vikings can either pay Cousins $45 million next season or Wilson $1.2 million.”
I’m only passing this along because Walters is a man of repute in the Twin Cities area, so Vikings fans, direct your ire away from me if you don’t agree with this passage.
Kevin O’Connell dealt with a revolving door of quarterbacking incompetence this past season once Cousins went down and still managed to keep the Vikings relevant for most of the year. In three of his last four starts, Nick Mullens put up passing yard totals of 303, 411 and 396 in O’Connell’s system. Russ might be down to operate that offense, play in the easier of the two conferences, throw to the likes of Justin Jefferson, and all the while get one last crack as a full-time starter.
That is, if Minnesota doesn’t trade up in the draft to increase the chances of landing one of the top QBs. As it stands now, they’ll miss out on at least the top three consensus prospects in Williams, Daniels and Drake Maye of UNC. Maybe someone like Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. falls to them at No. 11.
OK. Please stop me. The Super Bowl hasn’t happened yet. The draft isn’t for several months. I will wear myself out with hypotheticals.
Bottom line: I’m so down to see Kirk Cousins bail and go to another team. Let’s do it.
Now I must follow a Marvel reference with a Batman one to emphasize my love for chaos and quarterback mobility in the NFL.