fans have grown accustomed to saying goodbye to some of their favorite players, which is a good thing as more of the same appears on the way.
The Vikings chose not to trade either Kirk Cousins or Danielle Hunter ahead of the October 31 deadline in the name of a playoff push in 2023. But the team also chose not to extend either of them over the offseason. As such, both will be free agents next March.
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report predicted on Saturday, November 11, that Cousins will end up departing Minnesota for a new team before the 2024 campaign begins.
Cousins should be healthy in time for the 2024 season, barring an atypical recovery process. He’ll also be 36 years old, and the Vikings already have a messy cap sheet that absolutely must leave room for an extension for superstar wideout Justin Jefferson. Pass-rushers Danielle Hunter … and Marcus Davenport will be free agents, too.
There’s also the variable of Joshua Dobbs and rookie Jaren Hall. If either one plays well and guides Minnesota to the playoffs in Cousins’ absence, would the Vikings be comfortable committing to him?
Provided his medical check is fine, Cousins will be a highly valued QB in free agency. He just might not be staying in Minnesota.
Cousins has been a polarizing figure over his six years as the Vikings’ starter, often caught in a debate over whether he is simply an above-average quarterback or one good enough to lead the right roster to a Super Bowl.
Over his first five campaigns in Minnesota, Cousins led the Vikings to the playoffs twice (2019, 2022), earning a 1-2 postseason record. The QB also earned Pro Bowl honors in three of those campaigns (2019, 2021, 2022).
Cousins was on his way to another Pro Bowl and had firmly established himself as one of the top-10 quarterbacks in the NFL (based solely on play in the 2023 season) before he suffered an Achilles tear against the Green Bay Packers on October 29.
Cousins was leading the league in pass attempts (311), completions (216) and touchdown passes (18), per Pro Football Reference. He had completed 69.5% of his passes for 2,331 yards and led the Vikings to a three-game winning streak without Jefferson in the lineup that saved the team’s season.
It is difficult to predict how great an impact Cousins’ injury will have on his performance going forward. An Achilles tear used to be tantamount to a career death sentence, which is no longer the case due to medical advancements. That said, Cousins will play his 13th NFL season in 2024 and will do so closer to age 40 than age 30.