Vikings Urged to Sign $49 Million QB to Replace Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings got a taste of what the 2023 offseason may look like when they scrambled to find another quarterback after Kirk Cousins‘ season-ending Achilles tear — and they could revisit one of those conversations at the trade deadline in the coming months.

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported on October 31 that the Vikings “looked into” trading for Washington Commanders backup Jacoby Brissett before ultimately landing Josh Dobbs.

Brissett could serve as a bridge quarterback in 2024 while the Vikings develop a rookie quarterback next season and reload for a run in 2025, when they’ll have significant cap space to use in free agency.

QB Jacoby Brissett’s Fit With Vikings

Jacoby Brissett, Commanders

GettyQuarterback Jacoby Brissett

A 2016 third-round pick by the New England Patriots, Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts after Andrew Luck sprained his AC joint.

Brissett started 15 games that season, and although he struggled behind an offensive line that failed to protect Luck (who was knocked down more than any other quarterback for three straight seasons prior), he took care of the ball and has proven to be a reliable game manager.

Despite an 18-30 career record, Brissett has maintained a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’s thrown 51 touchdowns and 23 interceptions across his 48 starts. He’s made stops with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns and won games despite slotting into offenses that were not built around his skillset.

Brissett’s career has largely been defined by taking teams, struck with injuries to their starter, as far as they can go.

He’s not going to elevate an offense, but he’s proven to complement his surrounding pieces — and the Vikings have plenty of skilled players at their disposal.

The Vikings’ interest in Brissett at the trade deadline may have been a bit out of desperation, but their interest alone shows they see Brissett as a potential fit in their plans — especially in a season where they intended to continue to compete without Cousins or Justin Jefferson for much of the season.

He’s made $49 million in his career, but his last contract with the Commanders was just $8 million for the 2023 season — a rate that would give the Vikings more flexibility to rebuild the roster in free agency.

Bridge QB, 1st-Round Rookie Route Gives Vikings More Resources for Rebuild

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O’Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Realistically, the Vikings have too many holes to contend next season.

Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum and Marcus Davenport (who was the biggest signing in free agency last year) are all impending free agents at outside linebacker. Starting linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard are also bound for free agency.

Safety Harrison Smith‘s future is also bleak considering he will have to take a pay cut to stay and candidly spoke on contemplating retirement last offseason when faced with the same decision.

Guard Dalton Risner needs a new deal and the Vikings are also poised to lose wide receiver K.J. Osborn to free agency.

There are also holes on the offensive and defensive fronts as well as in coverage at cornerback.

Many of the players who saw significant playing time this season after still valuable depth pieces who could bloom into starting roles — but the 2023 season was largely a trial to see what they had.

If the Vikings were an edge rusher away from being a Super Bowl contender, it would make sense to extend Cousins and draft a first-round pass rusher and figure out the quarterback situation another day.

But they’re much further than a couple of additions in free agency and don’t have the cap space to make meaningful additions considering the big-money deals they must make this offseason.

If Cousins is re-signed, the odds of Hunter coming back could be nixed considering the Vikings are expected to extend Jefferson as well. That means the team will need at least two new starting pass rushers, an interior lineman who can pressure and at least two cornerbacks who are starting caliber.

Some of those needs could be filled by the current roster’s development, but banking on middle-round talent to rise to that level at multiple spots is fool’s gold.

By signing a journeyman like Brissett and drafting a rookie quarterback, the Vikings would be financially free by 2025. They currently have the fifth-most cap space that season and could be big spenders in free agency after another year of evaluating their talent on rookie-scale contracts.

The offense will already be primed for the developmental rookie quarterback, while the defense could be dramatically improved given another year of development and free-agent reinforcements.