Let me start this off by saying that I love Kirk Cousins. This is my eighth season being a football fan, and there isn’t a QB I have embraced more than Kirk- for both the player and overall man that he is. He has his flaws, but we all do. Kirk will always be MY QB, and I will always root for him no matter who he plays for- unless he plays against the Vikings.
With that said, however, it’s time to pull the plug and start over at the QB position by trading Cousins mid-season. And now is the perfect opportunity to do so.
In spite of great numbers from Kirk, the Vikings are currently 1-4 and have lost the engine of their offense, star receiver Justin Jefferson, for at least the next month. This is a roster that already had a lot of holes, particularly on the defensive side of the ball as well as the interior of the offensive line, and Jefferson was not someone we could afford to lose. Without our best player, there is a real possibility that the Vikings are 1-7 after Week 8, which is when the trade deadline approaches. The Vikings need picks and cap space to rebuild this roster, and Cousins would be a perfect piece for a lot of teams.
The first team that comes to mind for a Cousins destination is the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are currently 3-2, but are at a major QB disadvantage with Desmond Ridder helming the position, despite the fact that Ridder is supposed to be a COMPLEMENTARY
piece to an offense whose engine is their Bijan Robinson-led rushing attack. Imagine what the Falcons, in a wonky AFC South division, could do with Kirk as their QB. He wouldn’t be asked to carry the team like he is here in Minnesota- he’d simply be tasked with (mostly) handing off to Bijan, while also getting the ball to star pass catchers Kyle Pitts and Drake London.
The New York Jets are another potential destination, as they boast a dominating defense and a strong rushing attack. However, I don’t see the fit there as their offensive line lacks a quality tackle and just lost their best interior lineman for the year to an Achilles tear. Also, former Viking nemesis Aaron Rodgers and his hefty salary are there- the Jets do not have the cap flexibility to take on two large QB salaries.
I could also see teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading for Cousins. I think both of those teams, sporting quality rosters, would be playoff contenders with Cousins at the helm. However, I think their coaches will stick with current starters Kenny Pickett and Baker Mayfield, respectively. Besides, I don’t think Cousins would perform well in a Matt Canada-coached offense (by the way, FIRE CANADA!
What would some of these teams be willing to give up for Kirk Cousins? A first-round pick and maybe more? Imagine what a team like the Falcons or Buccaneers, both competing for the NFC South title, would be willing to give up to secure Cousins’ services. Now, there are two downsides to a Kirk trade. First off, he has a no trade clause, effectively allowing him to pick a potential destination and force the Vikings to accept that specific team’s offer. Secondly, Kirk is set to be a free agent after the season, so a team may be hesitant to trade for what could be nothing more than a half-season rental.
Trading Kirk would allow the Vikings to gain extra draft capital and more cap flexibility in the process of rebuilding their roster. With the 2024 QB class featuring the likes of USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., and Oregon’s Bo Nix, among others, this is the year that the Vikings need to put themselves in a position to grab a franchise signal-caller, whether that be losing enough games to gain better draft position or collecting enough draft ammunition to move up in the draft.
There’s a saying out there that sometimes you need to take a step back to take three steps forward, and I believe that applies here. Trading Kirk would be taking a big step back, but at the same time allowing the franchise to take three steps forward and launch a new era of Minnesota Vikings football.
Yes, the Kirk Cousins era in Minneapolis has been something to watch. We’ve had a lot of fun football games with him at the helm and he gave us stability at the position we hadn’t had in a long time. However, all good things must come to an end, and it’s unfortunately time to pull the plug and get what you can for him.