The secret is out that San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has a soft spot for Kirk Cousins. In the two seasons they spent together in Washington, Shanahan developed a great respect for Cousins.
“I liked how efficient he was coming out of college watching him on film, and then being with him for years and seeing firsthand how talented he was as a thrower,” Shanahan said, per NBC Sports. “I also saw how his mind worked and how he worked at it. He understood everything that was happening whether it was good or bad, and always tried to learn from things.”
Cousins, considered a favorite to land the 49ers quarterback gig, wound up with the Minnesota Vikings instead in 2018. However, trade talks and rumors of a possible reunion have continued to steep given the decline of Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 49ers are among several teams considered to chase Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in free agency. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suggested San Francisco instead go for Cousins as the missing piece to push for another run to the Super Bowl following their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last year.
Florio urged the Vikings to entertain a trade offer on 95.7 The Game’s The Morning Roast.
“I can’t see the Vikings demanding a whole lot if they would decide to move on from Kirk Cousins. … I think that’s something that the 49ers should definitely explore,” Florio said. “If the Vikings know what’s good for them, frankly, in all due respect to Kirk Cousins and the team, they’ll decide to make a move.”
Trading Cousins would allow the Vikings to get their cap situation under control, acquire a few more free agents to bolster several holes in the lineup and potentially secure a rookie quarterback in the draft.
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Why Cousins Would Be a Good Fit for 49ers
The 49ers essentially run a more diverse version of the Vikings offense that proved lethal last season when San Francisco rolled Minnesota 27-10 in the NFC divisional round.
Cousins is adept in the 49ers’ outside-zone offense that Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, and Gary Kubiak developed in the mid-’90s.
Garoppolo has shown struggles due to his lack of experience in the league. In seven seasons in the league, he has started 16 games in a season just once in his career. He suffered a high-ankle sprain this season and played six games, essentially punting the season for 49ers.
Cousins is not a transcendent passer and needs the pieces and playcalling around him, but he does offer a cheaper price tag for San Francisco. Cousins is a plug-and-play passer in the Shanahan system that would be much cheaper than throwing the farm at acquiring Watson and potentially tank the team for years to come.
Jerry Rice: ‘Do You Want the Ferrari or Do You Want the Mercedes?’
As word spread of Florio’s take, 49ers legend Jerry Rice addressed the conversation surrounding San Francisco’s potential in the quarterback market.
“Do you want the Ferrari or do you want the Mercedes?” Rice asked on The Morning Roast. “I choose the Ferrari, and the Ferrari’s going to win you playoff (games), and the Ferrari is going to win you Super Bowls. So, I’m all-in on that.”
Rice’s comparison of Cousins to a Mercedes was considered a bit generous to the show’s host who felt Cousins was more fitting of a minivan. This dig on Cousins is fitting of his reputation in the national media.
Cousins combated that reputation by playing like one of the league’s best quarterbacks in the final 10 games of the season, throwing for 2,790 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.