Former Top-10 Pick Tries to Recruit Kirk Cousins Amid Vikings Uncertainty

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

There are risks to the Minnesota Vikings letting Kirk Cousins’ contract situation play out as it has.

For one, the four-time Pro Bowler could develop a wandering eye.

Allowing Cousins to reach free agency would open the door for potential suitors to step in and step up with an offer. One of the betting favorites to land him, the Atlanta Falcons, is already getting a hand from running back Bijan Robinson, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Robinson also dished out a bit of reality for the rest of the potential suitors for Cousins.

“He could come to us,” Robinson said on “Sports Seriously” on February 14. “But I kinda have a feeling he might stay in Minnesota.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio called the Vikings out for their handling of Cousins’ situation. He noted that their actions to this point suggest they want to let another team set the market for the free-agent passer.

That again is a risky proposition.

“The strategy seems to be that they want to see what others will pay before making their move,” Florio wrote on February 17. “If that’s the case, it’s a very bad strategy.

“If the Vikings aren’t doing the things that would make him (and his family) feel wanted, giving Cousins (and his family) a chance to feel more wanted elsewhere could prompt Cousins to choose a new team over the Vikings, if the financial offers are equal. It also could potentially cause Cousins to take a little less to go elsewhere, potentially, just to make a point.”

Kirk Cousins Figures to Command Top Dollar in Free Agency

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

GettyKirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Cousins ranks as the top quarterback on the market this offseason, per Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger on January 22.

14 teams enter the offseason with more cap space than the $28.9 million the Vikings have, per Sportrac. The Falcons are one of them. But four other teams among that group could also look for a new quarterback this offseason.

Spotrac projects Cousins’ next contract to come in around $39 million annually. But Florio suggested that number could reach $45 million annually.

The Vikings can create up to roughly $40 million more with some savvy roster moves, per The Athletic’s Alec Lewis on January 23. They still have several other holes to address this offseason, though.

And star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is due for a potentially historic contract extension.

Kirk Cousins’ Potential Impact on Vikings’ Draft Plans

Kevin O'Connell, Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

GettyHead coach Kevin O’Connell and Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Rumors have linked the Vikings to several of this year’s quarterback prospects. That includes the possibility of a blockbuster trade to get as high as No. 3 overall in the draft. They have also been linked to the second-tier options.

Cousins could have a big impact on who they target and when.

Players like Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy could go several picks apart. But they are the younger prospects in this particular class.

They might benefit more from having Cousins around while they get acclimated to the NFL. On the other side of that argument are experienced passers like Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., and even Caleb Williams in the unlikely event the Vikings would have a shot to draft him.

Even a rumored target like LSU’s Jayden Daniels, who is as experienced as Penix, could use some time to develop physically at the next level.

For the development of their next quarterback and the current disposition of their current roster, the Vikings might be wise to ensure they have Cousins under center next season.