Jefferson gave his top-five quarterback rankings to a Brazillian reporter a week ago, a list that did not include his own quarterback. He named the following quarterbacks as follows: No. 1 Patrick Mahomes, No. 2 Aaron Rodgers, No. 3 Joe Burrow, No. 4 Jalen Hurts and No. 5 Josh Allen.
Jefferson’s honesty was ammunition for fans to take shots at Cousins, who apparently hadn’t even seen the video and the fanfare that followed.
“I didn’t even see it. This is the first time hearing about it,” Cousins said July 13 on KFAN’s “Power Trip Morning Show.” “As a competitor, yeah, you always want that. People have to be honest and share what they think and I’m not going to tell somebody what they need to think and hopefully in 2024 I’ll be on his list. We’ll see what we can do this year.”
Cousins shrugging off what many fans called a snub is a similar approach he’s taken throughout his career as a former fourth-round pick turned Pro Bowler. This is the season for him to catapult himself higher in the quarterback echelons as he enters a contract year with the Vikings.
Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Has Defended Kirk Cousins Throughout His Career
Jefferson omitting Cousins from his quarterback rankings is all the bait some fans might need to argue Jefferson does not like his situation in Minnesota.
However, the star wide receiver has defended his quarterback throughout his rise in the NFL.
Late in the 2022 season, Channing Crowder, the host of the Pivot Podcast, appeared on ESPN and attempted to discredit Cousins, calling him the crux of the team in the few times Minnesota struggled.
“Down by 33 to make that comeback [against the Indianapolis Colts]… and they got molly whopped by the Cowboys a couple of weeks back,” Crowder said. “I’ve seen some weaknesses in the Vikings, and it’s on Kirk Cousins’ shoulders.”
Jefferson clapped back, resharing Crowder’s rant and adding “All of the Kirk criticism has to stop!! I understand y’all hate the dad swag but come on his numbers are right with y’all’s MVP candidates.”
Vikings’ Future With Kirk Cousins Could Impact Justin Jefferson’s Contract Negotiations
Arguably the most valuable non-quarterback in the league, Jefferson is due to be paid like one soon.
Contracts for superstar players like Jefferson should take time to hash out the finer details — one of which may be the length of his second contract.
If the future at quarterback does not become clear in the next calendar year, Jefferson may be inclined to take a shorter-term deal that allows him more flexibility for his future. No star receiver wants to waver while a team plays quarterback roulette, and that’s why general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has included Jefferson in the team’ ‘s decision-making processes going forward — a rarity for non-quarterbacks.
“I think back to something Adofo-Mensah said at the combine. He essentially admitted then that Jefferson’s status warrants the type of communication often afforded to the starting quarterback,” The Athletic’s Alec Lewis wrote, revisiting Adofo-Mensah’s combine press conference. “Adofo-Mensah said it was his responsibility to keep Jefferson abreast of the team’s long-term plans.”