Vikings QB Kirk Cousins Addresses 49ers, Shanahan Amid Trade Chatter

Kirk Cousins, George Kittle

Getty Kirk Cousins and 49ers tight end George Kittle chatting during a 2022 preseason game.

The love affair between Kyle Shanahan and Kirk Cousins is well-documented.

When the San Francisco 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018, general manager John Lynch recalled days when Shanahan was “in mourning” because his “master plan” included having Cousins at quarterback instead.

The trade rumors and ongoing flirtation between Cousins and Shanahan have not ceased ever since. But when the 49ers and Minnesota Vikings meet on primetime Monday night, those feelings will be tucked away.

“I don’t intersect with coaches as much, I think because it’s illegal,” Cousins said with a chuckle during his weekly news conference. “I don’t really talk to ones on the other team, obviously you shake their hands pre-game, postgame whatever it may be. You try to keep the connections to a minimum outside of that.”

Asked whether he ever expected to reunite with Kyle Shanahan after the Mike Shanahan coaching tree was ousted from Washington, Cousins gave a non-answer, pivoting to the success many of those coaches have had since.

“When [Kyle] left we had just gone 3-13. We were all kind of in disbelief where we were,” Cousins said. “It’s been amazing to see where everybody’s paths have gone since then. We didn’t know what to expect back then, but you kind of believe the cream rises to the top in time and I think that’s proven true in those coaches.”

Cousins is one of the hottest names circulating through trade rumors due to the Vikings’ decision to let him play out the final year of his contract and a 2-4 start to the season.

While San Francisco is off to a 5-1 record this year with Brock Purdy, the Cousins-Shanahan connection remains enough reason for trade rumors to continue no matter the time of year.

Vikings’ Kirk Cousins Credits His NFL Growth to the Shanahans

Kirk Cousins and Mike Shanahan

GettyKirk Cousins was a 2012 fourth-round pick by the Commanders, led by Mike and Kyle Shanahan at the time.

A fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft, Cousins was considered a safe backup or potential stopgap starter in the NFL.

He was selected by the Commanders to compete as a backup to No. 4 overall pick Robert Griffin III but soon seized the starting reigns due to several injuries to Griffin.

Cousins was still raw and took over for the final three games of the 2014 season before the Shanhans were ultimately fired. But he credits getting a chance in the NFL to Kyle Shanahan and the rest of the coaching staff.

“He was a big reason I got drafted there was fortunate enough to get to work with him for two years. Mike Shanahan has really been a mentor for me and somebody I’ve always gone to for wisdom and counsel and the same for Kyle, Matt LaFleur Sean McVay, all of those guys, Mike McDaniels, that were on that staff that I have a lot of respect for and enjoyed working with. Positive two years for me learning the league and we’ve all followed each other since then,” Cousins said.

Vikings Underdogs vs. San Francisco 49ers

The current betting favorite to win the Super Bowl, San Francisco (5-1) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 19-17 defeat to the Cleveland Browns.

The 49ers lost Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel to injury that game, and both stars are questionable for Monday’s matchup with the Vikings (2-4).

Vegas still gives San Francisco a significant edge over the Vikings, with the point spread ranging from 6.5 to 7 points in favor of the 49ers.

The game could be a defensive gridlock considering the injuries to San Francisco’s offense and the absence of Justin Jefferson. Minnesota’s offense mustered just 220 yards in a 19-13 win over the Chicago Bears.

Cousins is 1-3 against the 49ers since joining the Vikings in 2018.